The Local Plan for the Broads: Issues and Options Consultation
28.1 About design and the Broads
The Broads Authority has the equivalent status to a National Park, recognised for its high landscape and built qualities. National policies are clear in outlining that proposals should preserve and enhance the special qualities of the area, with the scale and extent of development being limited and any development being sensitively located and designed to avoid and minimise adverse impact on the area.
We must seek to ensure that new development is of the highest standard of design and reflects the sensitive context in which it sits. As well as the external appearance of new buildings, they must relate well to their surroundings, including the wider landscape, enhance biodiversity and seek to tackle climate change, be safe and secure, enable good access for all, be sustainable and flood resilient.
28.2 Government and national policy and design
The Planning White Paper of 2020 identified design of new build as a particular focus of the proposed planning reforms, proposing ‘to bring a new focus on design and sustainability’.
In 2021, the updated NPPF required all Local Planning Authorities to prepare design guides or codes, reflecting local character and design preferences. They are intended to provide a ‘local framework for creating beautiful and distinctive places’.
The Government published the National design guide - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) also in 2021. The National Design Guide ‘illustrates how well-designed places that are beautiful, enduring and successful can be achieved in practice’.
At the same time, the National Model Design Code - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) was published which ‘ provides detailed guidance on the production of design codes, guides and policies to promote successful design’.
28.3 What our policy says now
Policy DM43 of the adopted Local Plan says ‘all development will be expected to be of a high design quality. Development should integrate effectively with its surroundings, reinforce local distinctiveness and landscape character and preserve or enhance cultural heritage’. It then goes on to discuss various aspects of design such as mix of uses, crime prevention, accessibility and landscaping.
28.4 Planning guides
We already have some design guides in place. These relate to the design of riverbank stabilisation and moorings, as well as Waterside Bungalows and Chalets. We have some other guides on landscaping/landscape as well as biodiversity enhancements. You can see our planning guides here: Broads planning guides (broads-authority.gov.uk).
28.5 Design work underway
We will be updating the Local Plan policy relating to design. It is not envisaged that this will be significantly different to the existing policy, although we will need to ensure it is in accordance with the National Design Guide and National Model Design Code.
In order to meet the requirements of the NPPF, we have also started work on preparation of a Design Guide for the Broads. Early stage public consultation has helped to establish what the public value about their built environment and this is helping to inform the development of the Design Guide. The draft Design Guide for the Broads is out for consultation at the same time as the Issues and Options.