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Design – Basic Principles & Guidelines
90% of respondents to the Neighbourhood Plan household survey held in 2016 said that new housing should fit in visually with existing streetscapes.
Boughton Aluph and Eastwell parish is an unusual mixture of rural and semi-urban. Over 90% of the land area is open countryside with scattered historic hamlets and the Conservation Area of the village of Boughton Lees holding roughly 10% of the population. The remaining south-west corner closest to Ashford’s urban centre contains the densely populated modern housing estates of Goat Lees. There is a considerable variation in housing design, both between old and new and also within settlements.
There has been a Parish Design Statement in place since 2003. The following guidelines borrow from this document supplemented by what we have learned from our consultation with residents and the process of drawing up a Neighbourhood Plan. In most cases, they will be applicable for new development across all settlements.
- The rural landscape setting and its historic settlements give the parish its overall sense of place. New developments should make a positive contribution to the environment, the community and the safety and well-being of all residents.
- The natural gaps between settlements which give the parish its sense of proportion (between Goat Lees and Boughton Lees, Boughton Lees and Kempes Corner, and Boughton Lees and Boughton Aluph) should be maintained.
- All developments should be sensitive to the setting, scale, shapes, proportions, materials, textures and colours of buildings within its particular settlement. It should not dominate its surroundings.
- Environmental sustainability should be considered in decisions on the design, materials, construction and the site management of all new buildings.
- Relationships between buildings are as important as the design of buildings themselves.
- Attention should be given to the impact of development on local landmark features and valued public views.
- The matter of vehicle movement and parking should be specifically addressed for all new developments.
- Building materials play an important part in determining local character. All building materials, whether modern or traditional, should be suitable and of the highest quality.
- Particular care should be taken in the Boughton Lees Conservation Area to ensure that alterations and new buildings relate in architecture and scale to their surroundings and make a positive contribution to the historic core of the village and its setting.
- Developers should be encouraged to involve local people in early discussions for any proposed new developments of significant size or impact.
- Each new development should include a statement and illustrations showing how these basic principles and guidelines have been addressed.
- Variation in design and layout in new developments, taking cues from existing buildings, is encouraged to help to avoid monotonous repetition. The parish has developed to have an eclectic mix of architectural styles within settlements. Anonymous, standard “pattern book” buildings that fail to reflect local style should not be considered.
- The mixing of architectural styles or historical references in the same building should be avoided.
- High quality contemporary architecture and designs which complement their surroundings and incorporate variations in geometric form, mass and scale are encouraged.
- The quality of building design and appearance should be considered from all angles of view and not just from frontal aspects.
- New buildings should be one or two storeys with a possible third within the roof.
- Roof lines should reflect those in surrounding areas. Roofs can be a mixture of hipped or gabled forms together with simple treatments to verges and eaves. Roof pitches in the parish are commonly between 45 and 60 degrees. Flat roofs are not characteristic and should be avoided.
- In groups of new buildings there should be a variety of roof heights to the eaves and the ridges.
- The use of porches and door canopies is encouraged and should be designed as part of the house rather than a bolt on feature.
- Garages should be set to the side or rear of a property and should not obscure house fronts. They should relate to the house to which they belong in terms of design, roof pitch and materials.
- In the Boughton Lees Conservation Area, new development or lateral extensions to existing buildings should maintain the characteristic gaps between buildings that provide views out of the built area.
- Adequate off-street parking should be provided for all new development, particularly for businesses on Eureka Park and within the Boughton Lees Conservation Area.
- Building design and materials should minimise noise pollution from near neighbours.
- Features to conserve natural resources such as energy and water are encouraged in the design of new buildings where feasible.
- Materials that harmonise with neighbouring buildings should be used for new developments and alterations. All materials, whether modern or traditional, should be suitable and of the highest quality.
- Walls should generally be of facing brickwork to match local colouring, with other forms of local facings being used where appropriate to achieve variety e.g. painted rendering, painted weatherboarding, tile hanging, flint or ragstone. The insensitive use of masonry paint is uncharacteristic in the parish and can make buildings too dominant in the street scene.
- Roofing materials should be red-brown plain tiles or grey slates if appropriate. Ridge and hip tiles should be the same colour as the main tiles. Chimneys and dormer windows are not only visually important for an individual building but they also punctuate the roofscape of the local area as a whole.
- Large areas of hardstanding are not characteristic in the north of the parish. Where possible, such areas should be located beside or behind the house. The use of pea shingle or hoggin as an alternative brick or block paving is encouraged. Concrete and tarmac should be avoided in all new development.
- Particular care should be taken to design the layout and density of new developments so as to ensure privacy and freedom from excessive noise for residents in surrounding gardens and dwellings, especially in backland and infill sites.
- Infill and backland development and consolidation on smallholdings, orchards or larger gardens, which compromise the feeling of spaciousness, are not acceptable.
- Gardens are important and should be incorporated into the layout of new housing.
- Any significant new developments should incorporate new green spaces and public recreation areas.
- Easy, safe access by foot and bicycle should be incorporated in plans for new developments. Consideration should be given to linking into the existing network of footpaths and national cycle routes, where feasible.
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