Somerset West and Taunton Council adopted the Districtwide Design Guide which illustrates the Council’s aspirations, for maintaining and improving the design quality across the Somerset West and Taunton area.
The purpose of the Districtwide Design Guide is to seek a step change in the quality of new development in the district in support of adopted local plan policies. It aims to ensure that the significant level of development and housing growth needed in the district, to meet future needs, is designed to create healthy, inclusive, and sustainable places to live for everyone. Promoting a common approach to the main principles which underpin the various adopted Local Plans that are used for assessing planning applications.
It demonstrates that meeting the challenges of the climate emergency through sustainable, energy efficient, low carbon, and climate resilient measures, is integral to high-quality design and placemaking. Doing so brings major benefits to other key aspects of good design, such as health and well-being. It also attempts to show how principles of good practice in street design and layout can be incorporated into good placemaking.
The Design Guide was subject to extensive public consultation throughout 2020 and 2021 and was adopted by SWT Full Council as a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) on 7 December 2021. Hence it is a material consideration in determining relevant planning proposals and applications and is afforded weight in the decision-making process.
Urban Design Award
On 26 September 2023, it was announced by the Urban Design Group that the Somerset
West & Taunton Districtwide Design Guide SPD had won the National Urban Design
Award 2023 (Design Code category). The Urban Design Group, in considering why the
Districtwide Design Guide SPD is it an outstanding piece of work, states “The
Guide is part of a unique suite of documents which address placemaking issues
across the district and within Taunton Garden Town. The document addresses the
comprehensive range of design issues and integrates design guidance with
placemaking and sustainability.”