New guidance to improve urban design for people

This autumn we’ll be asking your views on how to make sure the city gets high quality new buildings and attractive public spaces that are usable for all residents.

In a densely populated city like Brighton & Hove public open space, in particular, is not always easily accessible. 

As the city grows the council will be presented with proposals for new developments. This provides the opportunity to improve existing areas and shape new places. It also opens up new possibilities to design climate-friendly buildings and open spaces.

Guidance to help developers

Draft guidance to assist developers, architects and designers will be discussed by the Tourism, Equalities & Culture Committee. 

Communities will then be able to comment on the ‘Urban Design Framework Supplementary Planning Document’ (UDF SPD) during a six-week consultation.

Councillor Marianna Ebel, joint chair of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee, said: “Different communities experience spaces in the city in different ways. Some spaces can feel unwelcoming or are not easy to use or move around in, so this guidance will help designers address the barriers to making accessible and attractive public spaces and buildings.”

“A central theme running through the guidance is the way in which good design can help provide the inclusive, accessible, sustainable and climate resilient new development that our residents expect.”


Views put forward in the consultation will feed into the final version of the guidance. Communities will have an opportunity to see how their contributions have shaped the final document when it is taken back to the committee to review. The proposal is to adopt the new guidance in early 2021.

How the guidance will work

The UDF SPD will guide planning decisions on planning applications. 
It will be used to help achieve local planning policy - for example, in building new high quality and accessible homes with usable outside space.

The guidance looks at opportunities to support design discussions between applicants, designers, planning officers, councillors and communities by outlining design solutions and best practice in the city and elsewhere.

This includes showing how good design decisions can help developers make the best use of sites and create attractive higher density development that offer users/occupants significant benefits from this type of living.

Local priorities and tall buildings

There are three main parts to the guidance:

  • Local priorities: This section targets all types of new development in the city, setting out design issues that are particularly important to Brighton & Hove and illustrating how the council would like to see local policy interpreted. 
  • Tall buildings: The guidance looks at development involving buildings that are 18 metres or more in height and significantly taller than their surroundings. It identifies the boundaries of areas suitable for taller buildings, indicative heights and design principles. If adopted, this section will replace guidance currently set out in Supplementary Planning Guidance SPGBH 15 Tall Buildings 
  • Planning process: By setting out the council's preferred approach, the guidance encourages developers to resolve any design issues with the council before they submit a planning application and during the application process. 

Read the full UDF SPD and the committee report (agenda item 29). The Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee takes place on 24 September from 4pm and will be available to watch through the webcast.


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