Section 1 - Publication Draft Local Plan

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7. Creating Quality Places

7.1 The North Essex area has a great variety of natural environments, and wonderful towns and villages. It is critical that new development must incorporate high standards of place-making along with urban and architectural design to respect the character of these environments. Major new developments will be planned carefully with the use of masterplans and design codes where appropriate.

7.2 Networks of green and blue infrastructure should be provided across new developments, linking new developments within existing networks of open space. These areas can be multi use, providing space for natural species and habitats as well as space for informal recreation and walking links.   

7.3 This requirement for high design standards will apply across all scales of new development as well as to infrastructure projects. Enhancements to the public realm, landscaping measures and attention to architectural detail will be important features that the authorities will wish to see included in new developments. Strategic scale and more local green infrastructure can make a vital contribution to quality of place, biodiversity and health outcomes if properly integrated into the design and delivery of new development.

(24) Policy SP6 - Place Shaping Principles

All new development must meet the highest standards of urban and architectural design. The local authorities encourage the use of development frameworks, masterplans and other design guidance documents and will use design codes where appropriate for strategic scale developments.

All new development should reflect the following principles:

  • Respond positively to local character and context to preserve and enhance the quality of existing communities and their environs;
  • Provide buildings that exhibit individual architectural quality within well-considered public and private realms;
  • Protect and enhance assets of historical or natural value;
  • Create well-connected places that prioritise the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and public transport services above use of the private car;
  • Where possible, provide a mix of land uses, services and densities with well-defined public and private spaces to create sustainable well-designed neighbourhoods;
  • Enhance the public realm through additional landscaping, street furniture and other distinctive features that help to create a sense of place;
  • Provide streets and spaces that are overlooked and active and promote inclusive access;
  • Include parking facilities that are well integrated as part of the overall design and are adaptable if levels of private car ownership fall;
  • Provide an integrated network of multi-functional public open space and green and blue infrastructure that connects with existing green infrastructure where possible;
  • Include measures to promote environmental sustainability including addressing energy and water efficiency, and provision of appropriate wastewater and flood mitigation measures; and
  • Protect the amenity of existing and future residents and users with regard to noise, vibration, smell, loss of light and overlooking.
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