Technical report

Achieving well-designed places through neighbourhood planning: a toolkit for neighbourhood planners

Urban planning Urban precincts Community development United Kingdom

This toolkit has been prepared to support groups involved in neighbourhood planning to locally define and promote good design.

Neighbourhood planning gives great power to communities to influence the design of new development in their area. Communities throughout the country have strong ideas about the design of new homes and public spaces, and are demonstrating that development is more welcomed if local people have influenced it.

At the same time, it is clear that many communities find it difficult to express what they mean by 'good design'; questions like "what does good design mean specifically in your village or neighbourhood?" can be difficult to answer. Communities often know which parts of their area are popular and work well, but cannot always express how the features that people appreciate can be replicated in new development. It is impossible to decide and describe what you want in the future if you don't know what you've got now.

This toolkit aims to introduce groups involved in neighbourhood planning to a range of tools, techniques and resources that can help them to define and promote good design. The toolkit is not intended as a guide to design theory and practice, although chapter 2 does introduce some principles of good design in order to set the scene and put the tools in context. Sources of good design guidance are also signposted.

The toolkit is aimed at all neighbourhood planning groups, and in particular those looking to influence the design of development in their area. This could range from groups just looking to ensure that householder extensions and small infill development are in-keeping with the context to those proposing, or seeking to extract maximum benefit from, major growth; the basics of the process, like the principles of good urban design, are broadly the same in many cases.

The remainder of this document is structured in the following way:

  • Chapter 2 introduces the principles of good design that can be applied anywhere, according to context;
  • Chapter 3 contains the tools that you use yourself or seek help on; and
  • Chapter 4 suggests further sources of help and information.
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