Exeter City Council’s Residential Design Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) has won the Public Sector category at the 2012 Urban Design Awards
The design team responsible for the SPD included landscape architects Paul Osborne CMLI and Chris Westlake CMLI.
The award ceremony took place at the Royal United Services Institute in Whitehall on 15 February and the SPD took top prize in the Public Sector category. The SPD was praised for making an excellent contribution to raising the quality of residential design. The Judging panel highlighted the increasing importance of local planning policies and guidance to ensure development is sustainable and creates good places.
The SPD explains how developers can achieve high-quality residential development that adds to the quality of the city, raises the standard and quality of spaces inside and outside homes and helps reduce energy consumption.
It sets out a design process for developers to follow, starting with site analysis, production of a concept design and landscape framework before developing detailed layouts. The document includes detailed guidance with regard to site layout, internal and external space standards, parking provision and public realm design.
To inform the scope of the document, residents in recently completed housing schemes were consulted on the issues that most affected their quality of life and satisfaction with the homes. The design team consulted developers throughout the production of the SPD to ensure that it would be deliverable. Local partners and stakeholders, including the Devon Wildlife Trust and RSPB, helped the Council develop detailed guidance to ensure biodiversity is integrated into new development.
Cllr Rachel Sutton, Lead Councillor for Sustainable Development and Transport, said: “I’m thrilled that our hard work to improve the quality of new housing in Exeter has been recognised by the Urban Design Group. Poor quality housing schemes have a negative impact on the quality of life and health of residents and can create problems with anti-social behaviour and crime. Exeter’s Residential Design SPD requires developers to ensure that their schemes are attractive, safe places, that are sustainable and create a good environment that allow healthy communities to grow.”
The Residential Design SPD is now being used to inform the development of new housing schemes in Exeter. Exeter’s recently adopted Core Strategy promotes the development of 12,000 new homes in Exeter over the next 15 years.