5. Building Design
(5) 5.1 Affordable housing will be of a tenure blind design, indiscernible from and well integrated with the general market housing. The recent areas of major development in Cambridge such as the Southern Fringe (Trumpington Meadows, Clay Farm, Glebe Farm) demonstrate that the council has a strong ambition to work alongside developers to provide high quality places. All housing should be built to similar standards regardless of tenure. Regard should also be had to Appendix L of the Cambridge Local Plan 2014 – Car and Cycle Parking Requirements.
5.2 Dwellings must use high quality and robust materials and the design must respond to the context of the area. Other policies in the submission Cambridge Local Plan 2014 must be taken into consideration in the design of developments and affordable housing and as such the submission Cambridge Local Plan 2014 must be read as a whole, when considering development proposals.
(3) 5.3 All developments must meet Policy 51: Lifetime homes and Lifetime Neighbourhoods criteria. Criterion a. of the policy asks that all housing developments should be of a size and internal layout to enable the Lifetime homes standard to be met. In developments over 20 units, criterion b. requires 5% of units to meet Wheelchair Housing Design Standards or be able to be easily adaptable to meet Wheelchair Housing Design Standards. The decision as to how this proportion should be allocated across the development will be determined through negotiation with the council. Regard should be had to the following documents:
- Habinteg – Wheelchair Housing Design Guide (2006)
- Habinteg - Mind the Step: An estimation of housing need among wheelchair users in England (2010)
(1) 5.4 Internal and external residential space standards are laid out in Policy 50: Residential space standards of the Local Plan 2014 and set out a minimum space requirement for dwellings. These standards are applicable to all housing types and tenures. Policies 56: Creating successful places; 57: Designing new buildings and 58: Altering and extending existing buildings are also applicable to all housing types and tenures.
Access to flatted developments
(1) 5.5 Developers should avoid designs that would result in high maintenance and service charges affecting the affordable part of development. When designing a scheme, it is recommended that applicants liaise with the council’s planning and housing development teams early in the design process (and an appointed registered provider). Contact details for officers are listed in Appendix 5.
(2) 5.6 In flatted schemes, no more than 15 affordable dwellings should normally have access from a common stairwell or lift. This is in line with the Homes and Communities Agency’s housing quality indicator 2.157.
The design review process
5.7 The council aspires to create major new developments that provide high quality design, whilst building a sense of community, connectivity, character and tackle the issues of climate change.
(3) 5.8 Where particular design and conservation issues are identified as part of a planning application, schemes have the option of being taken to the council’s Design and Conservation Panel as part of the consultation process. The Panel exists to support the council in delivering the Government and the council’s design and conservation objectivesto secure the highest possible design quality of buildings and spaces, and to preserve and enhance the historic environment. The panel meets monthly to consider and advise on planning applications before they go to planning committee. Visit the following website to find out how to submit a proposal: www.cambridgearchitects.org/home/design-and-conservation-panel.
5.9 The Cambridgeshire local authorities have an independent Quality Panel which provides the on-going review and scrutiny of emerging masterplans and design codes for the major growth sites in Cambridgeshire. The panel reviews these proposals and assess their merits against the Cambridgeshire Quality Charter for Growth8. Visit the following website to find out how to submit a proposal: www.cambridge.gov.uk/urban-design-guidance-and-resources.
7 www.homesandcommunities.co.uk/hqi 8 www.cambridge.gov.uk/sites/www.cambridge.gov.uk/files/documents/cambridgeshire_quality_charter_2010.pdf