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5 Character

Does the scheme create a place with a locally inspired or otherwise distinctive character?

5a How can the development be designed to have a local or distinctive identity?

5b Are there any distinctive characteristics within the area, such as building shapes, styles, colours and materials or the character of streets and spaces that the development should draw inspiration from?

We recommend

Identifying whether there are any architectural, landscape or other features that give a place a distinctive sense of character as a starting point for design. It may be possible to adapt elevations of standard house types to complement local character. Distinctiveness can also be delivered through new designs that respond to local characteristics in a contemporary way.

Exploring what could be done to start to give a place a locally inspired identity if an area lacks a distinctive character or where there is no overarching character. Landscaping traditions are often fundamental to character, especially boundary treatments.

Introducing building styles, details and landscaping features that can be easily expressed to someone visiting the development for the first time. Where an area has a strong and positive local identity, consider using this as a cue to reinforce the place's overall character.

Varying the density, built form and appearance or style of development to help create areas with different character within larger developments. Using a range of features9 will help to create town- and cityscape elements that can give a place a sense of identity and will help people find their way around. Subtle detailing can help reinforce the character of areas and in doing so, provide a level of richness and delight.

Working with the local planning and highway authority to investigate whether local or otherwise different materials can be used in place of standard highways surface materials and traffic furniture. Be creative and adventurous by exploring the potential to innovate, develop new ideas and build with new materials.

We recommend that you avoid

  • Using the lack of local character as a justification for further nondescript or placeless development.
  • Ignoring local traditions or character without robust justification.
  • Too many identical or similar house types (where there is no benefit to the overall architectural integrity of the scheme from repetition).