'Urban Design' means the design of groups of buildings and the spaces between them, streets and whole areas. Urban Design transcends arguments about the architectural style of individual buildings and focuses instead on our total surroundings. The way to promote good urban design is through provision of a clear design policy and by fostering quality in the design of public buildings and spaces. Developers and house builders should view the Torbay Urban Design Guide Supplementary Planning Document which encourages high quality developments that have minimal impact on natural resources.
Attractive and lively buildings, streets, parks and neighbourhoods, especially those with a mixture of compatible uses and historic character, all contribute to making the area a special place which is a pleasure to live in. The quality of our surroundings is also now recognised as a vital factor in attracting and retaining businesses, employers and tourists.
Current government policy asks developers 'to think imaginatively in future as to how proposals can incorporate mixed land uses, to produce lively and successful developments and provide a positive contribution to the quality of our towns and cities'.
Torbay has 86 listed buildings and 25 Conservation Areas, so it is important that we should preserve and enhance our architectural heritage. It is also vital that we strive to improve the quality of design of new development and avoid some of the mistakes of the past.
Design of New Development
Good design should be the aim of all involved in the development process, but it is primarily the responsibility of designers and their clients. Nevertheless, the appearance of proposed development and its relationship to its surroundings are material considerations in determining planning applications. (Planning Policy Statement 1 )
But just what is good design and is there more to it than personal taste?
Good design is concerned with all the practical aspects of building design; soundness of construction, energy conservation, drainage, access, car parking, daylight and over-shadowing for instance, as well as quality of appearance. But well designed buildings can enrich our surroundings and cultural life.
Good design is about quality more than style and taste. Our philosophy is that new development should meet all the necessary practical design considerations, that it should not damage the environment, and that it should respect its surroundings. In Conservation Areas and the older parts of town this will normally point towards a more 'traditional' approach, not necessarily slavishly copying the past but complementing it, with the use of traditional forms and materials. In other locations, such as business parks or free-standing sites, imaginative modern designs which make a 'statement' are positively welcomed. In all locations, however, the intrinsic 'quality' of the design will be the chief benchmark.
Torbay Design Review Panel
The Torbay Design Review Panel was established in 2008 to promote the highest possible quality of design in Torbay and to ensure that our built environment matches our stunning natural environment.
The Torbay Design Review Panel has been established to provide a forum to promote design excellence offering peer advice to designers and developers in order to promote an enlightened approach and higher quality outcomes. The Design Review Panel’s role is in an advisory capacity to Torbay Council. It has no statutory function. The advice given by the panel will be a material consideration in Torbay Council’s statutory planning function in determining planning applications.
Building for Life Assessments
Torbay Council employs an accredited assessor who undertakes Building for Life Assessments. Building for Life is the national standard for well-designed homes and neighbourhoods.
The Council encourages public art as an integral part of new development or refurbishments. .
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- Building Heights Strategy
- CABE - Raising the Quality of our Built Environment
- Glossary of Planning Terms
- Torbay Connected
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