Appendix A: What is a Village Design Statement and how do I use it?
A1 This Village Design Statement (VDS) is intended to give advice and guidance to anyone who is considering any form of development in the village no matter how large or small. It covers simple works such as replacing doors and windows as well as more significant works such as extensions and new buildings. It is not only concerned with housing, but covers all types of development with the intention of improving the quality of design in new development.
A2 It is not about whether development should take place, instead, the VDS is intended to expand upon the policies in the Adopted Selby District Local Plan in order to explain it and give greater detail as to what is meant by the Policies within it. This helps developers and Planning Officers agree on some details that are not specifically set out in the policy itself: in this case the VDS sets out how development should be undertaken so as to respect the local identity.
A3 The VDS is a "Supplementary Planning Document" (SPD) which is a legal document that sits in a hierarchy of plans and strategies called the Local Development Framework (LDF).
A4 The different types of document in the LDF cover topical issues as well as area-based issues, and contain policies for making planning decisions. This is a relatively new system that replaces the old Local Plan system, however this is a period of transition and so the 2005 Selby District Local Plan has been "saved" as a 'Local Development Document' until such time that newer documents can replace it.
A5 This Village Design Statement SPD is therefore based on Policy ENV1 of the Saved Selby District Local Plan 2005, which states:
"ENV1: Proposals for development will be permitted provided a good quality of development would be achieved. In considering proposals the District Council will take account of
• the effect upon the character of the area or the amenity of adjoining neighbours
• the relationship of the proposal to the highway network, the proposed means of access, the need for road/junction improvements in the vicinity of the site, and the arrangements to be made for car parking
• the capacity of local services and infrastructure to serve the proposal, or the arrangements to be made for upgrading, or providing services and infrastructure
• the standard of layout, design and materials in relation to the site and its surroundings and associated landscaping
• the potential loss, or adverse effect upon, significant buildings, related spaces, trees, wildlife habitats, archaeological or other features important to the character of the area
• the extent to which the needs of disabled and other inconvenienced persons have been taken into account
• the need to maximise opportunities for energy conservation through design, orientation and construction; and
• any other material consideration"
The diagram shows the hierarchy of plans.
A6 When preparing development proposals, the developer should refer to this VDS in a "Design and Access Statement" to demonstrate how its advice and guidance has been used. This will help people understand how a particular design for the development has come about. Where a site lies on or near the "border" of two or more character areas, the advice of each should be taken in to consideration and used appropriately.
A7 If planning permission is required, the District Council’s Planning Officer will also use the VDS to assess the design of the application. If it cannot be demonstrated that this VDS has been used, or it is considered that it has not been used correctly, it could result in the refusal of planning permission.
A8 Even if planning permission is not required, it is still very much in the interests of the village to undertake any development work in sympathy to the village’s character. It will increase the appeal and the value of the development and ensure that the aesthetic qualities of the village continue for future generations to enjoy.
Appendix B: General advice for prospective developers
B1 This section considers more than just the aesthetic issues and offers advice and guidance for prospective developers in achieving a suitable development proposal.
General good design
B2 There are lots of conflicting issues in considering new development, but whatever the compromise, the village character should always be maintained.
B3 The character described in the VDS does not restrict new designs or materials or insist that everything is designed to “look old”. Instead, it is the job of the developer to design and build a modern building that satisfies modern needs, exploits new technology and building methods, and uses them to create a desirable, profitable development that works with its environment to seamlessly integrate with the local area. Modern, but appropriate development is encouraged.
B4 It is helpful to consider the visual impact of developments from all angles and from longer distance. Accurate perspective (isometric) drawings or street scene views to show how new developments would appear in relation to their neighbouring properties and in the wider street scene could be very useful.
B5 There is an emphasis on evolution not revolution in the village, and so multiple smaller developments will have less impact than a single large-scale development. This approach reflects the way the village has grown in the past.
B6 Examples of inappropriate designs, materials and layouts within the village should not be used as a precedent for further inappropriate use of these features.
The Planning Process B7 Anyone considering development should contact the District Council for planning advice before submitting an application. This will help to iron out potential issues and lead to a smoother planning process. The Parish Council would also welcome early discussion and to help wherever they can.
B8 Discussion with neighbours before applying for planning permission will give them an opportunity to discuss any concerns, and that may avoid unnecessary neighbour disputes.
B9 Some development do not need planning permission, but the need for good design remains. Understanding of the local character and applying it may increase the value of a development and ensure that the important local character remains. www.planningportal.gov.uk
Repairs and maintenance of buildings
B10 Many buildings in the villages are old, having been built long before building regulations came in to effect, before plastics were invented, and before vehicles began damaging structures through impact, chemical attack via exhaust gases, and water damage from splashing through puddles. The need to maintain and repair our older buildings is never more apparent, but it is essential that the correct materials and methods are used to maintain character, but also to ensure that the building continues to live.
B11 Bricks and stone may be bonded together using a mortar, but up until the Great War, most buildings used a lime mortar mix rather than a sand-and-cement mortar used today. Cement mortar is extremely hard and does not flex which can lead to cracks appearing, particularly where foundations are shallow or soft. The rain cannot penetrate cement easily and so it is found that the bricks and stone wear out faster than the mortar joints leaving the mortar exposed. This accelerates wear and buildings will become damp, unstable and ultimately collapse. A lime mortar is no more expensive and no more difficult to use than cement, but it is the better choice for many buildings in the district. Where stone is used, a sand and cement mortar should never be used.
B12 When installing modern features on a traditional building such as satellite receiver dishes, conservatories, replacement guttering and fascias etc, new windows and doors, and damp proofing can all seriously affect the integrity of both the appearance and the way traditional buildings function. Modern materials are often cheaper to buy, but may have a shorter operational life, and also lack the physical qualities that are needed in traditional buildings. However advice is available from HELM (English Heritage’s Historic Environment Local Management arm) who offer a wealth of information to help make an informed choice about materials and methods of repair to older buildings. See www.helm.org.uk.
Highway and parking advice
B13 Safety is paramount, but modern standardised road designs do not always sit comfortably within historic areas. When designing road layouts it is important that a balance is achieved to allow safe access without detriment to the local character. This means that a bespoke design will be needed.
B14 Historic areas were never designed for the private car and so these environments are spoiled by inappropriate and ill considered parking arrangements. Rural villages often feature heavy machinery and on-street parking is therefore problematic. Bespoke solutions will be required to minimise highway disruption and to maintain local character and amenity.
B15 New accesses should be designed to minimise the loss of boundary vegetation and achieve an appropriate balance between highway safety and amenity.
Energy conservation and sustainable development
B16 New development can play its part in reducing the risk and impact of climate change. Installing modern environmental systems in an attractive setting can have a serious detrimental impact on the character of the village. Therefore domestic wind turbines, solar panels and photovoltaic cells should be carefully sited to reduce their visual impact. If they cannot be placed sympathetically to limit their visual impact, then consideration of alternatives should be made. Ground source heating and better insulation may be just as effective by reducing consumption instead of generating more power.
B17 In order to reduce carbon emission, it is not only the ongoing costs that should be considered, as methods in construction may also limit environmental impact. Timber, stone, slate and labour from local sources will reduce the amount of travelling required overall thus reducing emissions and maintaining local employment. More information about sustainable construction can be seen at www.bre.co.uk.
The natural environment
B18 Any new development on the edge of the village should conserve or enhance the soft landscaped edge by the provision of appropriate tree and hedgerow planting. Hard edges of walls, fences or other structures should be avoided. Selby District Council has a landscape Character Assessment that will assist in understanding the landscape around the villages.
B19 Hedges and trees within the village are an essential part of the character. These should be conserved and reinforced through new planting in any new development whether small or large.
B20 Even small areas of hard landscaping can lead to a sharp decline in local wildlife with the removal of nesting, breeding or feeding habitats. This has a drastic effect on our natural ecosystems and so hard landscaping and removal of vegetation is strongly discouraged.
B21 Many plant and animal species that have declined in the wider landscape in recent years are increasingly dependent on the opportunities provided to them through the built environment, such as putting up bird and bat boxes, making ponds, and planting native trees, shrubs and wildflowers. Indirect actions such as using peat free or home-made compost also benefit wildlife. Further information can be found from the Natural England website: www.naturalengland.org.uk. Flooding
B22 Much of the District lies in the severe flood risk area, but all areas may be susceptible to some form of flooding. Flooding can include short term flash flooding after a heavy downpour which can cause localised damage. There are two considerations when designing out flood risk: a) the impact of flooding on a development, and b) the impact of the development on flooding. The following advice is generic, but does not imply that all areas are at risk of severe flooding. Detailed advice about how to cope with flood risk -including maps showing those areas most at risk -can be found on the Environment Agency’s website www.environment-agency.gov.uk , or through planning application stage or pre application process.
B23 To reduce the impact of flooding on a development, consider the plot in relation to slopes, water courses and known flood risk areas. If a flood is likely or possible, how would the water affect the development? Building on stilts and raising the ground floor level of the building may not be the answer, as the dry occupants would still be trapped because they would still be surrounded by water.
B24 Water storage capacity is particularly important; hard landscaped areas such as paved parking areas and driveways should be avoided, instead a permeable surface such as gravel is able to absorb water much more easily and hold it, prevent it escaping and building up elsewhere. It will also slow any flowing water down, and this will reduce the risk of impact damage. Collecting water from the down pipe in a butt may also assist in reducing the amount of water that the ground has to cope with. Trees and large vegetation help to bind soil together to prevent land collapse, so in areas where there are no trees, consider planting some to make sure the land can take the weight of water it holds.
B25 Selby is generally a low crime area, but there are simple steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of crime further still in new development. For example, clear definition between public and private spaces, siting buildings to ensure areas are overlooked, removing potential hiding places, and designing buildings that are not easily broken in to.
B26 “Secured by Design”is a publication by the Association of Chief Police Officers that sets out these and other simple but effective methods of reducing the opportunities for crime. Schemes that meet the criteria set out are eligible for awards, and may attract lower insurance premiums. A copy may be obtained here: ACPO CPI, First floor, 10 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0NN. Phone: 0207 084 8962 or Email: email@example.com.
B27 In addition, North Yorkshire Police have specialist Police Architectural Liaison Officers who would be pleased to offer 'designing out crime'advice in respect of development proposals. They may be contacted on 0845 6060247.