Securing Locally Distinctive Design
Cam Neighbourhood Plan (Gloucestershire)
Client: Cam Parish Council
However ordinary a place might seem at first glance, every village or town has characteristics and features that are greatly valued by its community. It might be a place’s relationship with landscape, distinctive building forms, use of materials, a particular landmark, local details, trees and open spaces or street names.
Neighbourhood Plan evidence, policy and guidance can play a key role in recording and protecting locally valued features and informing how future development can reinforce the local distinctiveness so often lost through ill-informed development.
In 2019, Place Studio helped the community of Cam produce their Neighbourhood Plan with design policies supported by both a ‘Cam Design Statement’ and a ‘Cam Design Code’. The evidence produced by the community, guided by the Place Studio team, revealed the common and distinctive relationship shared by the village’s neighbourhoods with the surrounding rural landscape, neighbourhood tree planting and the network of local green “snicket” routes. Both the Design Statement and Code provide the parish, the local planning authority and applicants with clear guidance on how this distinct landscape and access character should be prioritised in schemes – including the strategic allocations - to ensure that development integrates with and reinforces Cam’s distinct sense of place.
In congratulating the Steering Group, the 2020 Examiner’s Report noted the particular strength of design evidence, policies and especially the Code: “The authors … have taken a positive approach which seeks to shape the new (strategic) development so that it meets the needs and aspirations of the local community. The design policies are particularly based on a good understanding of the existing character … promoting strong, locally distinctive design”.