Draft Gloucester City Plan 2016 - 2031

Draft Gloucester City Plan

G: Design

G: Design

Policies in this section:

  • Policy G1: Living conditions
  • Policy G2: Car parking
  • Policy G3: Materials and finishes
  • Policy G4: Landscape
  • Policy G5: Bin storage
  • Policy G6: Cycle parking and storage
  • Policy G7: Public realm
  • Policy G8: Public art
  • Policy G9: Community safety
  • Policy G10: Delivering strategies
  • Policy G11: Development alongside main routes
  • Policy G12: Design standards
  • Policy G13: Large scale 20th century buildings
  • Policy G14: Transport arrival nodes
  • Policy G15: Gulls
  • Policy G16: Design and climate change
  • Policy G17: Views of the Cathedral

Key issues:

  • Addressing a legacy of unattractive large scale 20th Century buildings and transport nodes such as multi-storey car parks and the bus and train station.
  • Enhancing the routes into the City.
  • Enhancing the overall standard of design across all developments in a way that respects and enhances what makes Gloucester unique and locally distinctive.
  • Addressing specific design issues in residential schemes such as how to best design for car parking, bin storage, cycle storage and house extensions. 

A background topic paper on Design can be found on the council’s website by visiting www.gloucester.gov.uk/cityplan

Key evidence:

  • All consultation responses to date on City Plan
  • Gloucestershire Local Transport Plan (2015 – 2031)
  • Public Realm Strategy (currently in preparation)
  • Townscape Character Analysis (currently in preparation)
  • Active by Design – Design Council (2014)
  • Manual for Gloucestershire Streets (2014)

 Other relevant strategies:

  • Home Extension Guide – GCC (2008)
  • Heights of Buildings – GCC (2008)
  • Designing Safer Places – GCC (2008)
  • Shop Front Shutters and Signs
  • Lighting Strategy – GCC (2008)
  • Building for Life 12, 3rd edition (2015)

Relevant National Planning Policy Framework paragraphs:

  • 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 63, 64 & 66

Relevant policies from the JCS:

  • SD4 – Sustainable Design and Construction
  • SD5 – Design Requirements (including tables SD5a, SD5b, SD5c, SD5d)
  • SD15 – Health and Environmental Quality

JCS strategic objectives met:

  • Strategic Objective 5 – Delivering excellent design in new developments
  • Strategic Objective 6 – Meeting the challenges of climate change
  • Strategic Objective 7 – Promoting sustainable transport
  • Strategic Objective 9 – Promoting healthy communities

 Key City Plan principles met:

  •  1, 4, 10, 12, 13 and 14

Design policies

Design should be based on an understanding of the characteristics of the local area, in terms of character, built form, architecture, heritage and landscape. Well-designed attractive places improve the quality of life for all, minimising the opportunity for crime and the perception or fear of crime and enhance the environment; at the same time it contributes to the development of safer, stronger and sustainable communities that can adapt to the challenges of a changing climate

Where appropriate the City Council may request a Design Brief or Masterplan to accompany a planning application. These documents shall comply with the requirements set out in the Joint Core Strategy Policy SD5.

  • The development should accord with the relevant topic based Supplementary Planning Documents and any subsequent amendments:
  • Home Extension Guide (August 2008)
  • Heights of Buildings (November 2008)
  • Designing Safer Places (August 2008)
  • Shop Front Shutters and Signs (in production)
  • Lighting Strategy (2008)
  • Public Realm Strategy (currently in preparation)
  • Townscape Character Analysis (currently in preparation)

Policy G1: Living conditions

The development should not cause any significant adverse overshadowing, overlooking, or overbearing impacts to the living conditions and amenity of the occupiers of the surrounding properties or to the potential future occupiers and users of the development.

It is important that new development does not have an adverse impact on the people who live, or use the spaces around it. Of equal importance, and as a marker of high quality design, new developments must not create new poor quality environments that will adversely affect the amenity of future residents.

Policy G2: Car parking

Car parking should be overlooked by active frontages, be sited at the front or as close to the front of the principle elevation of the dwelling or unit as possible, encourage a sense of ownership of the space, uphold the active frontage of the building and reduce opportunities for vehicle crime.

There are many examples of failed or failing rear parking courts across the city. Rear parking courts lack a sense of ownership, create opportunities for crime and a fear of crime, reduce activity on the street frontage, are inconvenient to use because of their location away from the front of the property, create areas prone to fly tipping and are often abandoned – pushing more vehicles to park on the highway on streets that were not designed with on street parking in mind.

Parking provision across all development types must comply with the relevant information contained within Manual for Gloucestershire Streets 4th Edition April 2016, and any subsequent amendments.

Policy G3: Materials and finishes

The development should be finished in high quality materials that are locally distinctive and respond to the positive character and appearance of Gloucester. The architectural detailing and finishes of the scheme should be of a high quality.

Attention to detail can really make or hinder the overall appearance and quality of a place. Particular attention will be paid to finishes and materials, joins and fixing methods between materials, window cills and sub cills (double window cills are architecturally inappropriate), window reveals, window design, door design, the placement of meter boxes, flues, vents, chimneys, gutters and down water pipes, aerials and antenna.

Local distinctiveness in the built environment is founded on the understanding of the characteristics and influences of the locality particularly its landscape quality and corresponding use of materials. Understanding this can help to shape our modern communities, giving them a sense of history and distinct local identity whilst supporting sustainable development through use of locally sourced materials and promoting traditional skills. Development will be expected to complement and enhance the varied built environment, creating interesting and attractive buildings and places. It is important that new developments are designed to a high standard to ensure an attractive and functional place for people to live, work and visit to deliver prosperity and help attract inward investment.

Policy G4: Landscape

Applications for development should be accompanied by a landscape scheme all on a single plan, incorporating hard landscape and planting details. Such plans must:

  • 1. Exhibit a design and choice of hard materials, boundary treatment and planting appropriate to the particular location and existing landscape character, or create a new and distinctive character where this is currently lacking;
  • 2. Retain and incorporate existing natural features such as trees, hedges and watercourses;
  • 3. Ensure, in appropriate developments, especially housing schemes, that adequate space is provided for the planting and maturing of large scale trees;
  • 4. Indicate areas of public open space and amenity land that are proposed for adoption by the City Council.

Where appropriate, the use of native species in planting schemes will be required.

Landscape design can do much to enhance a development by providing an appropriate setting for buildings and an environment for people to enjoy. It can define spaces, create shelter and privacy, enhance or screen views, extend wildlife habitats and create identity and character.

The landscape scheme must be considered as an integral part of the project from the outset and throughout the design process. Where appropriate the layout, implementation and management of landscape schemes will be achieved by the use of planning conditions.

The use of native species in new planting schemes, particularly species that are indigenous to the Vale of Gloucester, will help to increase biodiversity in the city. Using local species means:

  • They grow better as they are adapted to the local climate
  • They will suit their local context (e.g. urban edge sites)
  • They support significantly more species of fauna.

 Use of seed and plant stock of local provenance will also be encouraged.

Policy G5: Bin storage

Bin storage areas are well designed and integrated into the curtilage of the dwelling house, apartment block, or business and are not on the highway. Each storage area is of a size that can easily accommodate all of the bins and kerbside collection boxes required to take advantage of all of the current recycling services offered by the City Council.

The City Council operates a number of bin and kerbside recycling facilities. Recycling is an important part of the council’s commitment to sustainability. New developments will need to demonstrate how they can comfortably provide space for the various bins required so that residents can easily access all of the recycling and collection services.

Good design is necessary in this area to encourage use of the service, to aid collection, maintain a visually attractive streetscene and to ensure that the highway is kept safe and free from obstruction.


Policy G6: Cycle parking and storage

All new residential and development will be expected to provide a suitable level of cycle storage and cycle parking. Applicants will need to demonstrate that cycle parking and storage complies with the relevant guidance produced by Gloucestershire County Council.

In order to encourage cycling it is important that storing and parking cycles is made to be easy, safe and convenient. Cycle parking in public spaces should be situated in open areas with natural surveillance, signage, lighting, be close to key locations and offering security by way of suitable anchor points or lockers. Where necessary shower and changing facilities may be required. Further guidance can be found in the following Gloucestershire County Council documents: Cycle Facility Guidelines (March 2012), Gloucestershire Manual for Streets (4th Edition April 2016), Gloucestershire Third Local Transport Plan, and any subsequent amendments.

Policy G7: Public realm

The development is cohesive and well integrated with the surrounding public realm. Viable opportunities to enhance the surrounding public realm are fully investigated, and where appropriate designed in accordance with the guidance provided in the Public Realm Strategy and any subsequent amendments.

The public realm is an important part of the urban environment. It is crucial that the public realm has a cohesive appearance across the City, rather than a piecemeal approach with a large variety of surfaces materials and street furniture. This is important to the overall quality and appearance of the City, to legibility and to the user experience.

Policy G8: Public Art

In new major development schemes across the city the City Council will seek the provision of or a financial contribution towards the commissioning of, publicly accessible art, craft and design work, or towards the conservation of part of a public heritage asset.

In suitable new developments, the City Council will seek the provision of art or artist-designed features. The design and execution of public art should fully involve the local community in which it is located and be properly related to the wider public realm or buildings in the area. In certain circumstances it may be more appropriate for the provision of a financial contribution towards conserving a public heritage asset e.g. a statue. We will secure such provision through use of planning obligations.

Policy G9: Community Safety

The development, including the associated public realm and landscaped areas, is designed to ensure that community safety is a fundamental principle of the proposed development. This includes:

  1. Maximizing natural surveillance;
  2. Layout that creates secure perimeter blocks with back to back development;
  3. Creating attractive to use, safe and where appropriate vibrant streets which provide visual interest, active frontages, particularly at street level  and avoid blank walls.

A well-designed environment can help to reduce the real and perceived risk of crime. The design and layout of buildings, open spaces, roads and footpaths can influence opportunities to commit crime and affect people’s sense of safety and security. Appropriate design and layout of landscaping, planting and lighting can reduce crime and the fear of crime. Development proposals should be designed to provide safety within the development site and in nearby and adjacent areas. Further guidance can be found in Designing Safer Places and any subsequent amendments.

Policy G10: Delivering strategies

Development should take every viable opportunity to support the objectives and delivery of the Regeneration Strategy, Lighting Strategy and Public Realm Strategy.

The City Council supports all opportunities taken as part of the development process to support the objectives and delivery of the Regeneration Strategy, Lighting Strategy and Public Realm Strategy. Improving the quality of the appearance of the City has wide reaching benefits to perception, image, tourism, ease of use, economy and retail.

Policy G11: Development alongside main routes

New development alongside main routes to the City Centre will be expected to be of a high quality to make the routes more attractive to residents and visitors. This will include well-designed buildings and spaces and where appropriate landscaping of the route in the vicinity of the development. Improvements to existing poor quality development alongside these routes will be encouraged.

Routes into the City play an important role in the overall image and perceptions of the City. Key routes are identified in the draft Proposals Map.

Policy G12: Design standards

Design is of a high quality that takes every opportunity to drive up the standard of development in an area.

It is simply not acceptable to reproduce poor or low quality design to be ‘in keeping with the local area’. This outlook goes against the intention of national and local design policy and guidance. It is also integral to the ambitions of the City Council to ensure that all new development achieves a high standard of integrated design, which reflects the local context and takes advantage of any opportunities to improve the character and quality of an area.

Policy G13: Large-scale 20th Century buildings

The City Council supports the redevelopment of negative large-scale 20th Century buildings and spaces. Redevelopments shall provide buildings, streets and spaces that are of a suitable scale and proportion which is reflective of Gloucester’s historic urban grain.

Gloucester is a compact city with a distinctive historic core and street structure. Over sized, large scale 20th Century developments (buildings and spaces) have eroded this structure and have contributed to the creation of a poor quality visual amenity and a lack of richness and quality to the urban environment.

Policy G14: Transport arrival nodes

The City Council will support the redevelopment of the City’s main transport arrival nodal points, including the bus station, train station, and all surface and multistory car parks, where it can be successfully demonstrated that:

  1. That there will be no loss in provision of spaces and services, unless the loss can be fully justified and it can be demonstrated that there will be no significant adverse harm to local businesses and that there will be no significant adverse impact to highway safety.
  2. The site will be developed in a way that enhances the connectivity and quality of the routes between the transport nodal point and the City Centre. 

The quality of the arrival points has an impact on the perception and use of the City by residents and visitors. In order to support the City Centre economy, tourism, legibility and visual amenity it is important that the transport nodal points are redeveloped to a high standard.

Policy G15: Gulls

All viable non-lethal humane steps to prevent gull roosting, nesting and damage should be taken. Gull mitigations measures shall be well designed and sympathetic to the building and its setting.

Gloucester’s large urban gull population cause disturbance and damage to buildings, through their excrement, nesting, and from their mating ritual of dropping stones on glazing and other shiny materials. They are a nuisance to residents and visitors and can be particularly aggressive at certain times of the year. All viable non-lethal steps should be taken on new development to prevent exacerbation of this problem. Ideally, gull mitigation should be considered from the outset. Design advice and advice on suitable non-lethal mitigation measures can be found in 'Gulls – How to Stop Them Nesting on Your Roof' produced by Gloucester City Council and is available to download from the website.

Policy G16: Design and climate change

The development achieves a high quality design which demonstrates through its siting, orientation, layout and minimised energy consumption a high level of environmental awareness which contributes positively to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges the world is facing and a key priority for Gloucester’s future. Mitigating the emissions which cause climate change through reducing energy use is important to protect against the impacts of climate change which in the long term could affect the city’s character and amenity.

New development should provide the opportunity to meet the highest standards of energy efficiency and minimise carbon emissions. Adapting to climate change means that we are better prepared for the following possibilities; increased frequency and severity of flooding, water shortages, hotter summers, rising energy costs and increased risk of damage to homes and infrastructure.

Policy G17: Views of the Cathedral

The development does not harm any key views of the Cathedral and other historic places of worship identified and protected in the Heights of Buildings Supplementary Planning Document and any subsequent amendments.

Views of key historic landmark buildings act as way finders and improve the legibility of the city. They also contribute to the city’s identity and sense of place. They make Gloucester unique and are a special distinctive part of the skyline.


Please see the Health and Wellbeing section E, for other design based policies such as Outdoor Amenity and Garden Space, Active Design, and Suicide Prevention policies.