Urban Design Framework Supplementary Planning Document – Draft for public consultation

Date of Meeting:

24 September 2020

Report of:

Executive Director Economy, Environment & Culture.

Contact Officer:


Paula Goncalves


01273 292352



Ward(s) affected:

All Wards







1.1         This report provides an update on the preparation of the Urban Design Framework Supplementary Planning Document (UDF SPD) and seeks approval to consult on the Draft Supplementary Planning Document prior to its final adoption planned for early next year.


2.         RECOMMENDATIONS:    


That the Tourism, Equality, Communities and Culture Committee:


2.1         Notes the background information provided regarding the preparation of  the Urban Design Framework Supplementary Planning Document (UDF SPD); and


2.2         Approves the Draft Urban Design Framework Supplementary Planning Document for public consultation for six weeks and authorises the Executive Director Economy Environment & Culture to make any necessary minor amendments to the Draft SPD in consultation with the Chair of TECC Committee prior to the public consultation.




3.1         The Urban Design Framework (UDF) is specifically referred to in Policy CP12 Urban Design in the adopted City Plan Part One. It is also signposted in the Spatial Strategy and a number of the other city-wide and Development Area policies of this Plan. It is also referred to in the Proposed Submission City Plan Part Two policies (approved by council April 2020 for further consultation) that set out criteria for assessing design quality of places and buildings.


3.2         The aim of the UDF SPD is to illustrate how good urban design is vital to the delivery of inclusive, accessible, sustainable and climate resilient development that will help to deliver better buildings, spaces and places for the city; its residents and visitors. As such, it will also help to achieve many of the objectives set out in the Council Plan 2020-23 – A Fairer City with a Sustainable Future.


3.3         The UDF has been prepared in the form of a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). A SPD is one of a series of documents used by the council to provide guidance and information to planning applicants and landowners about how to successfully implement adopted and emerging policies in the City Plan Parts One and Two. It cannot make new or change existing policies but it can assist the council in delivering the amounts and types of development being proposed by City Plan Part One and Two in more innovative ways and through better quality design, illustrating good practice.


3.4         The Draft SPD builds upon the outcomes of earlier stakeholder consultation (undertaken in 2018 as ‘Issues and Options’) and input from key council officers and design advisors. It has been prepared to inform a city-wide consultation and takes account of the National Design Guide - Planning practice guidance for beautiful, enduring and successful places published in 2019. (NDG 2019). The SPD demonstrates how good design:

§  can help the city to achieve its ambition of becoming carbon neutral by 2030;

§  should respond to the city’s limited spatial opportunities and challenging physical and environmental constraints;

§  helps to meet the city’s significant housing needs through high quality higher density development together with development for other land use needs;

§  secures improvements to the city’s physical, social and environmental infrastructure;

§  uses innovative, contemporary architecture to enhance the reputation of the city and creates places that improve health and well-being; and

§  reflects positive engagement with all involved in the planning process.


3.5         The SPD looks at opportunities to support constructive design discussions between applicants, designers, planning officers, councillors and communities by outlining potentially appropriate solutions and illustrating best practice in the city and elsewhere. This document is structured in three main sections that build on national and local design policy and guidance:

A.    Local priorities

This section focuses on design issues that are particularly important and relevant to Brighton & Hove and sets out design recommendations and principles to illustrate how the council would like to see local policy interpreted. The advice in this section is applicable to all types of development across the city. Local priorities are developed under three key design priorities: context, spaces between buildings and buildings.

B.    Tall buildings

This section sets out additional design considerations that are particularly relevant to development that is 18 metres or more in height and significantly taller than its surroundings. It also provides design advice for each of the identified tall building areas in the city as set out in policy CP12 Urban Design in the adopted City Plan Part One. If adopted, this section of the UDF SPD will replace guidance currently set out in Supplementary Planning Guidance SPGBH 15 Tall Buildings.

C.    Planning Process

This section describes the council’s preferred approach for engaging with applicants to resolve design issues both prior to the submission of a planning application and during the application process.

D.    Appendices

These provide additional information about some of the issues discussed in the guidance and also provide an extended list of policies and documents that should be read in conjunction with the SPD.


3.6         Each section of the guidance identifies the relevant City Plan policies, sets out key design principles and recommendations to help applicants achieve better planning outcomes and signposts good practice examples from the UK and beyond to illustrate how multiple design priorities can be achieved through good design (e.g. high quality urban design together with a range of biodiversity and sustainability outcomes).



4.1         In order to inform the preparation of the Draft SPD, an early stage of stakeholder engagement aiming to gauge views on the type of guidance to be provided was conducted in 2017- 2018. This included inviting hard to reach groups to assess the quality of public spaces in the city and asking individuals and organisations to provide feedback on Issues & Options set out in a discussion paper and Draft City Plan Part Two design policies.  

4.2         The council received 154 responses. The detailed findings of this consultation are set out in the consultation report that forms part of the Appendices to this report along with a table demonstrating how comments were addressed in the Draft SPD. Across all those consulted there was support for guidance that:

§  Provides enough detail without being too prescriptive;

§  Ties in with other planning policy, strategies, studies and guidance;

§  Promotes engagement with local professionals and communities;

§  Creates places that are accessible to all; and

§  Draws attention to good practice examples in the city and elsewhere.


4.3         Stakeholder consultation was then followed up through engagement with key council officers and Design South East panel advisors, to assess how best to provide the level of detailed guidance favoured by stakeholders, in particular with regard to:   

§  identifying opportunities to optimise density and build on character areas as identified in the city’s Urban Characterisation Study;

§  providing more clarity about criteria for the assessment of tall building area proposals (i.e. definitions, locations, height ranges and facilities needed);

§  setting out standards/assessment criteria for building design (i.e. internal spaces, architectural detailing, sustainability, amenity, balcony treatment, acoustics, light pollution, air quality and health);

§  integrating walking/cycling and public transport connectivity with transport services, nature-based green infrastructure and sustainable water and waste management solutions; and

§  identifying strategic views to be protected and consideration of impact criteria, particularly in regard to tall buildings.


4.4         Dedicated workshops involving key officers and design advisors were used to refine the structure and content of the document and help to identify additional design priorities and principles for selected tall building areas.


4.5         The council’s Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) sets out policy and standards for engaging residents, local groups, stakeholders and statutory consultees in the preparation of planning-related documents, including supplementary planning documents.


4.6         Stakeholder organisations and individuals, including residents, developers, landowners, local ward councillors, planning agents and amenity groups registered in the Planning Policy database will be invited to comment on the Draft SPD during a six-week public consultation to be held in Autumn 2020. Consultation documents will be made available on the council’s website. Due   to Covid-19 restrictions, consultees will be invited to comment using the council’s consultation platform and attend a consultation event using a virtual platform.


4.7         The Council will then consider the comments received before amending the SPD that is expected to be brought back to this Committee to seek its adoption in early 2021.


4.8         The UDF SPD was subject to a screening exercise at an early stage of preparation to assess the need for a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). The screening was subject to consultation with statutory consultees who agreed with the conclusion that the SPD did not require a SEA.




5.1         As part as the Issues & Options consultation, options were put forward ranging from a ‘business as usual’ City Plan policies only approach; a broad brush SPD to identify and summarise existing information available and a more detailed SPD that provided as much detail as possible were all tested.


5.2         As the early stakeholder consultation report shows, overall, consultation respondents favoured a detailed SPD approach.


6.         CONCLUSION


6.1         The main purpose of the Draft SPD is to ensure detailed, clear advice and guidance is available to all those responsible for, or with an interest in improving the design quality of new development in the city.




Financial Implications:


7.1         The cost of officer time, document production and consultation associated with the recommendations in this report will be funded from existing revenue budget within the Planning service. Any significant financial implications arising from the outcome of the consultation and production of the Supplementary Planning Document will be reported in future committee reports.


            Finance Officer Consulted:     Name Jess Laing                         Date: 27.08.2020



Legal Implications:


7.2         The contents of a SPD are governed by The Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012. To be lawful, a SPD must be limited to statements regarding “any environmental, social, design and economic objectives which are relevant to the attainment of development and use of land” which “the local planning authority wish to encourage during any specified period” [Regulation 5. (1) (a)]. The Regulations provide that prior to adoption an SPD must be publicised and a period of at least four weeks allowed for representations to be made. The usual requirement that SPDs are made physically available for inspection at Council offices and elsewhere has been suspended for the period 16 July 2020 to 31 December 2020 by the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020.


7.3         Once adopted a SPD will be a material planning consideration in the determination of relevant planning applications.



Lawyer Consulted:                       Name Hilary Woodward          Date: 28.08.20


            Equalities Implications:


7.4         Equalities issues relevant to this SPD have been considered during the Health & Equalities Impact Assessment (HEQIA) undertaken on City Plan Part 1, particularly those identified for policies CP12 Urban Design and CP13 Public Streets and Spaces. The assessment did not find any particular sensitive groups that were affected by these policies. The Planning and Communities Engagement Teams have engaged early with some equality groups and will continue to do so as part of the various stages of consultation on the SPD.


Sustainability Implications:


7.5         Sustainable development is given a very high priority in the SPD. The guidance aims to help planning applicants to meet, and if possible exceed, City Plan sustainable development targets, foster high-density, mixed use development and deliver acceptable development in way that positively responds to the city’s sensitive landscape, historic built environment and local priorities.


Any Other Significant Implications:


            Crime & Disorder Implications:


7.6         The preparation of the guidance set out in the SPD will allow for more detailed consideration regarding layout and design features which could help deter crime or disorder and the fear of crime. SPD will consider issues of Secured by Design.


Risk and Opportunity Management Implications:


7.7         The UDF SPD will provide guidance on implementing City Plan Part One Policy CP12 Urban Design and other relevant policies in the Plan and the emerging City Plan Part Two Policies. Responses received as part of the consultation at the Draft SPD stage will help inform the final version of the SPD. The SPD is intended to improve the quality of design in new development and facilitate the successful delivery of higher density and sustainable development. 


Public Health Implications:


7.8         Development across the city is expected to support sustainable and healthy lifestyles. The production of the SPD can help support the timely provision of necessary infrastructure to support sustainable and mixed use communities across the city. The ways in which good design can help minimise noise and other traffic impacts have been considered in the Draft SPD and will be duly discussed as part of the consultation.


Corporate / Citywide Implications:


7.9         The council is committed to promoting high quality, higher density, mixed-use development. High quality design is the key to achieving acceptable development in a way that respond successfully to the city’s high housing demands, significant spatial constraints and sensitive landscapes. As such, the Draft UDF SPD presents a major opportunity to:

§   Establish constructive dialogue with local communities and those with a stake in the planning system on the key design principles to help deliver development in the city and particularly in more sensitive locations; and

§   Provide greater clarity and confidence for elected members, the council’s Development Management team and the development sector to help unlock investment in and speed up the delivery of housing and other much needed development in the city.


Any Other Significant Implications:


7.10      None identified.








1.     Draft Urban Design Framework Supplementary Planning Document (UDF SPD)

2.     Early stakeholder consultation report

3.     Early stakeholder consultation report appendices


Documents in Members’ Rooms



Background Documents

City Plan Part One

Submission City Plan Part Two