Mixed Tenure Homes / Design

Garden communities should be founded on the principle of outstanding homes in high-quality environments. Good design is essential if we are to create sustainable places where people want to live and be part of the local community.

It is important to demonstrate a high-quality, well designed and attractive built environment. In line with the Public Health England (PHE) Spatial Planning Guidance on standards for healthy housing, garden communities are an opportunity to:

In all instances, the appropriate use of building materials and a colour palette that complements the existing landscape should be applied to mitigate the visual impact of new development. See Understanding Context for more information.

Neighbourhoods should be diverse. The objective should be to meet the full range of housing needs and aspirations through a variety of housing types and unit sizes, and in each of the following categories:

  • Different homes designed to be sufficiently flexible to adapt to people’s needs over their lifetime
  • Specialist accommodation for elderly people including Independent living homes
  • Marketing homes
  • Social housing
  • Affordable housing (including housing for older people)

Garden communities should aim to reserve 30% of homes for social rent and affordable housing, so as to support the development of effective local economies. Homes should be accessible, adaptable and sustainable, with consideration given to flexible home-working. Layouts of streets should enable the prioritisation of walking, cycling and other forms of sustainable transport which connect to key destinations such as neighbourhood centres, schools and green spaces.

It is important to ensure that dwellings are designed for accessibility and flexibility, so as to be able to accommodate the changing needs of residents as and when required. Examples include:

  • Provision of capped services, which can be accessed should a room need to be converted into a wet room.
  • Construction to a standard that can withstand the installation of a stair-lift, hoist, hand-rails etc.
  • External and internal materials that can be painted or customised for easy identification.

It is important to note that many such measures follow the Building Regulations Part M4 Category 2 (Accessible and Adaptable Dwellings).

Each neighbourhood should have a defining character, with distinctive features or materials that make it distinguishable from other areas of the development. This character should be influenced by both the local context and the surrounding built and natural environment.

Sustainable design should be a defining factor within garden communities. This should involve the incorporation of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) and water conservation, as well as the latest renewable energy technologies to maximise energy-efficiency and generation.

Page updated: 12/07/2019

Make the most of the Essex Design Guide, register today

As well as ensuring you are always in the know about future changes and updates to the Essex Design Guide, registering with us will enable to you to add and manage bookmarks throughout the site, so your most-used areas of the guide are always easy to find.

Register for updates

© 2024 Copyright Essex County Council. All rights reserved.