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February 2014 Extract From the Draft Plan

7. Housing and Design Quality

 Stratford-upon-Avon is a wonderful place to live, set in attractive countryside, with good transport links. It benefits from the connection with Shakespeare which supports better cultural and tourist facilities than many similar sized towns.  Due to its popularity, however, people wish to settle here which has resulted in high house prices and creates demand for more and more housing.  This demand over the last few years has put pressure on greenfield sites on the periphery of the town creating urban sprawl and development uncoordinated with the necessary infrastructure, particularly the road system.  The demographic breakdown of Stratford is also distorted in relation to the Country as a whole and even with the rest of the County and District, with a noticeable shortage of residents in the 18-35 age range while those in that age range who work here have to commute in [DS to reference statistical evidence re: commuting].

The role of a Neighbourhood Plan is not to prevent future development, indeed that would not be in the long term economic interests of our town.  The strategic allocation of future housing numbers required in the Stratford District Core Strategy (once adopted) has to be accepted where it is justified through a robust evidence base, but this Neighbourhood Development Plan is the mechanism for Townspeople to decide where it should best go and what priorities they wish to see in its design.

On the basis of consultation undertaken a number of objectives have been identified.  This Section of the Neighbourhood Development Plan proposes policies that would reduce the impact of future residential development in a piecemeal and uncoordinated manner on the outskirts of the town, focussing the location of new homes in sustainable locations on brownfield land as opposed to greenfield sites, promoting the enhancement of the canal as a major feature of the town through regeneration, and increasing the availability of affordable housing for young single people and young families.

Design Quality Vision

The Stratford upon Avon Neighbourhood Area has developed and grown over many centuries and has adapted to changes in population, working practices and living conditions creating a patchwork of areas with their own character and distinctiveness which are well described in the Town Design Statement[1], the Alveston Village Design Statement[2] and the Conservation Area Reports for Alveston[3], Shottery[4], and Stratford-upon-Avon[5].  The result is a town that attracts people to want to live and work in it, and because of its river setting and heritage it also attracts large numbers of visitors and tourists.  Future development will be expected to build on this history, maintaining what is important while also creating areas that residents can be proud of in years to come and that visitors will admire.  This Neighbourhood Development Plan seeks exemplary quality and design from future development.

1 Stratford-upon-Avon Town Design Statement , adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance, Sep 2002

2  Alveston Village Design Statement Update 2010, adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance

3   Alveston Conservation Area Report dated July 1992

4   Shottery Conservation Area Report dated July 1992

5  Stratford-upon-Avon Conservation Area Report dated July 1992


Objective 7A [HSG A]:  Identify suitable sites for the strategic housing allocation for Stratford-upon-Avon as required by the Stratford-on-Avon District Core Strategy

The role of a Neighbourhood Plan is not to prevent future development, indeed that would not be in the long term economic health of our town, but to help direct where future housing should best be located.  This objective aims to support policies that would apply to all new housing developments in Stratford-upon-Avon in order to meet the strategic allocation as set out in the Stratford-on-Avon District Core Strategy (SoAD CS) Policy CS.17.

 Policy 7A-1 [HSG A-1]  Make best use of the most sustainable land by maximising the use of Brownfield land for housing before Greenfield sites

 Land that has previously been developed or built on (“brownfield land”) should be reused before undeveloped or greenfield sites are considered, unless the land has clearly reverted to a natural state or is clearly unsustainable.  This Policy supports the proposal to redevelop the Canal Quarter [Stratford Regeneration Zone] as defined in SUA.1 of the SoAD CS.  

7.1  Generally land within the Neighbourhood Area that is already developed would normally be considered sustainable and suitable for reuse or redevelopment for housing unless its current use met the continuing needs of other objectives and policies in this Neighbourhood Development Plan or the SoAD CS or the land was clearly unsustainable for other reasons.  Where any previous development is no longer apparent and the land has reverted to nature, the land should not be considered as “brownfield”. 

Policy 7A-2 [HSG A-2]  Minimise housing development on the fringes of the town

Development that extends the built-up boundaries within the Neighbourhood Area should not normally be permitted.  The Built-Up Area Boundaries of Stratford upon Avon Town, Tiddington and Alveston are as shown on the Policies Map [needed to be prepared].  Additional Housing to meet the strategic allocations for Tiddington and Alveston should be limited to sites identified in [the Tiddington Housing Plan (to be prepared)] and the Alveston Sustainable Infill development plan (2014). 

7.2 The built-up areas of the Neighbourhood Area are surrounded by attractive countryside which forms part of the character of the area.  Progressive encroachment of the countryside by infilling parcels of greenfield land on the edges of the built-up areas has begun to erode this character and further development should be minimised unless clear positive benefits can be demonstrated. 

Policy 7A-3 [HSG A-3]    Prevent piecemeal housing development in back gardens

Private gardens of houses are not to be considered “brownfield” land and should have no presumption of permission being granted.  

7.3   Development on garden land of existing houses can lead to inappropriate development with regard to neighbouring properties and poor means of access.  Unless an adequate land area is available or can be assembled and demonstrated to be accessible and sustainable, without causing harm to neighbouring dwellings and the character of the area, then development should not be permitted.

 Policy 7A-4 [HSG A-4]  Minimise the need to use the private car by providing pedestrian and cycle access to services

All applications for new development should demonstrate how access to services can be achieved by means other than the private car. 

7.4   Priority will be given to proposals on sites that are located in close proximity to the services provided in the Town or Village Centres, to shopping and to public transport nodes.  On large sites (above [50?] units) provision within the site must be made for pedestrian and cycle access to routes leading to transport and other services.

Objective 7B [HSG B]:  Provide a range of different housing types across all tenures to suit the demographic requirements of Stratford-upon-Avon

The demographic breakdown of Stratford-upon-Avon as identified in the Strategic Housing Market Assessment Update (Jan 2013) (2013 SHMA) shows a distortion in relation to the Country as a whole and with the rest of the County and District, with a noticeable shortage of residents in the 18-35 age range.  This shortage is forecast to get worse, with a corresponding increase in the older population.  Many of those in the 18-35 age range who work here have to commute in.  This objective seeks to support policies that would increase the housing available to occupiers in the 18-35 age groups. 

Policy 7B-1 [HSG B-1]  Provide housing which attracts younger people and families in the 18 to 35 age group

Priority will be given to housing that is sited, designed and priced to attract single people and occupiers with young families.  Both small apartments with access to the Town and to the evening economy and small houses with gardens and access to children's play areas are needed. 

7.5  The demographic trends for Stratford-upon-Avon, as shown in 2013 SHMA and confirmed by the 2011 Census, indicate that the number of residents aged between 18-35 is significantly reduced compared to National, County and District averages.   Supported by the comments made by residents in the consultation for this Neighbourhood Plan, the inference that may be made is that there is insufficient housing of a suitable size, location and price for those in that age bracket and this should be addressed in the housing supply.

 Policy 7B-2 [HSG B-2]  Provide a mix of housing types

Developments should seek to meet the mix requirements identified by current Strategic Housing Market Assessments and specifically the mix of sizes indicated in para 7.6 below for Stratford-upon-Avon. 

7.6  The 2013 SHMA identifies the size mix requirement by housing tenure as shown in the Table below, which indicates that a different strategy from the rest of the District is required.

District Housing Size Requirements 2008-2028




4+ bed


Market Housing






Affordable Housing






Market Housing Size Requirement   (Indicative only)




4+ bed









A poor mix of housing tenure (especially if replicated over a number of developments) can result in an imbalanced social mix across an area, with the potential for a concentration of social exclusion and deprivation in the long term. 

It is important to ensure that the tenure mix is well integrated into the layout and not concentrated into a single location or into locations with the worst environmental quality. Providing affordable dwellings in small groups is the approach that is generally preferred for management purposes. Where there may be communal areas, for instance within the blocks of development (say for garden space or parking), then the management needs to be resolved if there is to be a mix of private and affordable housing within a single block.

For smaller scale developments, the tenure mix should contribute towards meeting needs by supporting the existing pattern of tenures or introducing new tenures as appropriate.1-bed 2-bed 3-bed 4+ bed Total

Policy 7B-3 [HSG B-3]   Ensure adequate provision is made for homes suitable for an older population

Loss of existing bungalows either by adding additional stories or by replacement would be resisted, and larger developments should include homes designed for older people.  Developments designed specifically for older people should be suitably located for ease of access to shopping facilities and to medical services.  

.7 7        The demographic trends for Stratford-upon-Avon, such as shown by the 2011 Census, indicate that the number of older people in the Town is increasing and will continue to do so as people live longer.  Existing suitable homes should be retained and future developments need to take account of this trend by providing suitable homes such as single storey housing as well as making multiple-storey housing accessible for older people together with adequate private outside space.  To meet sustainability criteria, homes for older people should not be located in areas without easy access to everyday shopping needs and to primary health care facilities.

Objective 7C [HSG C]:  Provide a greater range of affordable housing The Strategic Housing Market Assessment Update (Jan 2013) (2013 SHMA) indicates that there remains a shortfall of Affordable Housing across the District, with Stratford-upon-Avon needing to find some 35% of the total of those in housing need.  The size mix needed for Stratford-upon-Avon also varies from that for the District as a whole and should be considered separately. 

Policy 7C-1 [HSG C-1]   New residential developments are to provide an affordable housing and dwelling mix specifically for Stratford-upon-Avon

While Core Strategy Policy CS.18 requires all developments with a net gain of over 5 dwellings to deliver a 35% proportion of affordable housing, this is the minimum to meet the requirements within Stratford-upon-Avon.  Until a strategy on the specific needs for Affordable Housing for those in housing need in Stratford-upon-Avon is produced, this Policy supports the housing mix for affordable housing as shown in the Table below where that is different from the District.


7.8  The 2013 SHMA identifies the Affordable Housing size mix requirement as shown in the Table below, which indicates that a different strategy from the rest of the District is required.

Affordable Housing Size Mix




4+ bed








District overall







Meeting this will assist in providing affordable housing for younger single people and couples who are currently absent from the demographic make-up of Stratford-upon-Avon.

Objective 7D [HSG D]:  All new development is expected to meet the highest standards of design and environmental sustainability.

Design is more than just the details of materials and appearance, although those are important; it must start from a concept of making places excellent to live and work in.  That goes for the extension or replacement of a single dwelling or building set within its own surroundings, right up to large developments that are able to create their own character and sense of community and that have an internal coherence as well as relationship and connectivity to the rest of the neighbourhood. 

Requirements to Achieve Design Quality   [advice being sought from SuA TC and SDC]

7.9  Proposers of all development of whatever size shall take pre-application advice from the Town and District Councils.  The advice given and how this was taken into account shall be included in the Design and Access Statement to be submitted with the planning application.

7.10  Proposers of all development shall undertake local consultation on the development being considered, including on design issues, prior to any formal planning application being submitted.  For householder development this consultation may only need to extend to immediate neighbours, but for any larger scale development consultation of local residents from a more wide-spread area would be expected.  In all cases advice on the extent of the local consultation should be sought prior to undertaking it.  It may be appropriate that this local consultation is incorporated with the pre-application advice.  The results of the local consultation and the developer's response to it shall be included in the Design and Access Statement.

7.11  Developers shall subject their proposal to an independent Design Panel Review for any development over 10 units [? less? More?] or where advised to do so in the pre-application advice.  The Design Panel Review Process offered by MADE would be acceptable, but if undertaken by another body approval for that body should be sought in advance from the Local Planning Authority. 

Policy 7D-1 [HSG D-1]   New developments must contribute to making places that are great to live and work in.

New housing developments are to be evaluated against Building for Life 2012 (BfL 12) requirements.   No 'Red' score against any criterion would be acceptable.  All criteria should achieve a 'Green' score, and any 'Amber' score would have to be justified in the Design and Access Statement. 

7.12  Building for Life is the industry standard, endorsed by Government, for well-designed homes and neighbourhoods.  BfL 12 contains 12 questions, based on the National Planning Policy Framework, reflecting that new housing developments should be attractive, functional and sustainable places.  The questions are designed to help structure discussions between local communities, the local planning authority, the developer of a proposed scheme and any other stakeholders.  This policy seeks to strengthen what is stated in the District's Core Strategy Policy CS.10 in order to achieve exemplary development in the Stratford-upon-Avon Neighbourhood Area.  

Policy 7D-2 [HSG D-2]  Integrate new housing into the character and appearance of the Town and the immediate environs of the proposed development

This policy seeks to ensure that all new or brownfield site developments are of high quality and reflect the character of the areas around them in spatial layout, scale, materials, design and landscape.  In particular it is expected that:

All new development in Alveston, Shottery and Stratford Town        Conservation Areas to respect the layout, design styles, character and appearance of its surroundings. 

All new development in Alveston and Stratford Town to accord       respectively with the Alveston Village Design Statement 2010 SPG and Stratford-upon-Avon Town Design Statement 2002 SPG (or as subsequently revised).  When other design statements are prepared and adopted as Supplementary Planning Documents (SPD), these are to be followed in any new development proposals.

Housing density and building heights to reduce towards the town periphery. The built-up areas should appear to emerge gradually from the surrounding countryside, with higher density and building heights located towards the centre, and lower density and building heights on the periphery.

Development sizes should be limited to 50 houses unless accompanied by a master plan which integrates the development and delivers substantial benefits to infrastructure.  The master plan must include consideration of means to ameliorate the additional demand that the development would place on the highway system and on services such as schools and medical facilities, as well as the need to provide public open space and environmental improvements. 

7.13  Stratford-upon-Avon is a medium sized market town set in attractive Warwickshire countryside.  In addition to its resident population it also attracts several million visitors each year.  While it has an historic core, and a number of historic buildings around the outskirts, there has been gradual expansion over the years in discrete areas which each have their own character.  It is important to the residents that all new, future and brownfield site development is of high quality and reflects the character of these areas in spatial layout, scale, materials, design and landscape.

7.14  Every building matters in a conservation area, as well as the streets, public spaces and gardens between them.  These features give the area its special character.  In the Neighbourhood Area there are currently Conservation Areas for Alveston, Shottery and Stratford Town and it is important that these are respected.

7.15   Where local design guides have been produced, but have not been adopted as SPD, then new development should take account of them, or otherwise explain at the application stage why the design guide has not been followed, which must be for good planning reasons.

7.16  A maximum building height of 2-storeys should be the norm on the edge of the built-up area.  Building heights nearer the centre should be appropriate to their location and surrounding buildings.  While there is no specific design density set for the Neighbourhood Area, it would be expected that development in close proximity to the town centre and other services could be higher and above 60 dwellings per hectare (dpha), but on the periphery would not normally be above 25 dpha.  In all cases the local character should be respected.

7.17  Too many medium sized developments have occurred in the Neighbourhood Area in recent years that have created extra demand on infrastructure without making adequate contribution to improve or ameliorate the pressure.  This has been particularly true of additional traffic leading to increased congestion, but also of the lack of provision of local public open space in or near new developments. 

Policy 7D-3 [HSG D-3]  Integrate sustainable and safe design in new development

All new residential development is to be designed:

in accordance with the advice in 'Safer Places  - Secured by Design'

in accordance with the Lifetime Homes Standard 2010 (or as subsequently  revised)

to meet Level 5 or better of the Code for Sustainable Homes.  Justification is to be given in the Design and Access statement if this cannot be achieved, but  design is not to fall below Code Level 4. 

7.18  Unless, or until, there is local Supplementary Planning Guidance or Documents to cover design standards developers should use Nationally recognised guidance.  Developers should show and justify what guidance they propose to follow when seeking pre-application advice, and within the Design and Access Statement accompanying any planning application.

 Policy 7D-4 [HSG D-4] Support  development that enhances the canal as a desirable feature of the town.  

This policy also seeks developments that would deliver this enhancement while releasing brownfield land for housing and associated uses.  In particular it is expected that:

inappropriate uses and development would be relocated from the canal side to more appropriate locations;

new development along the canal would be primarily residential and mixed use;

a continuous corridor on at least one side of the canal would be provided incorporating landscaping and pedestrian and cycle access;

new development would front onto the canal to enhance appearance and make a safer and more inclusive environment.

Detailed guidance to inform the development of the Stratford Regeneration Zone (SRZ) as outlined in the District's Core Strategy at Policy SUA.1 is provided at Section 3 to this Neighbourhood Development Plan.

 7.19  The canal has not provided a commercial transport method for goods for many decades though it is still surrounded along much of its length within the Neighbourhood Area by industrial and commercial uses.  These surrounding uses are now predominantly reliant on road transport, and being themselves surrounded largely by residential properties could be better located in a more accessible and appropriate location.  The canal has become a source of leisure activities and could be enhanced to become a much more desirable place to be and to enjoy if the areas surrounding it were redeveloped.

 7.20  The opportunity of creating an exemplary residential and mixed-use development, making best use of up-to-date and visionary design guidance on place making, presents itself as a result of CS SUA.1.  This Neighbourhood Development Plan supports the creation of a new and vibrant community, or communities, within Stratford-upon-Avon as a new Canalside Development.

Last updated about 1 year ago

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