Planning for good design in Kent

  Joanna Russell
  February 21, 2023

Kent County Council published the latest version of the Kent Design Guide in 2018 which was updated to give planners, designers and developers support and guidance in creating good quality well designed homes for the future.

“Over the next 20 years, Kent will experience unprecedented growth that will bring over 100,000 new homes and many new jobs to the County.

The Kent Design Guide has been produced to ensure that all new development results in vibrant, safe, attractive, liveable places where people want to be.”Kent Design Guide

How does the Kent Design Guide affect You?

The Kent Design Guide puts great emphasis on the planning stage of a development, seeking to ensure that everyone involved in the design process:

  • knows the site well
  • its history
  • the Planning Policy context of the surrounding area

Most importantly the guide provides guidance to assist in the delivery of the design aspirations of the National Planning Policy Framework 2019 ensuring a strong and considered application from the start.

Obviously, agreeing what ‘Good Design’ is can be hard to define, but interpreting the Kent Design Guide alongside National Policies is where we can help.

The Government has recently provided strengthening of design in the planning process in the form of the National Design Guide 2019 which supports local guidance such as the Kent Design Guide and individual design policies of local Councils.

How can we help with your Planning Application?

We started MKA Planning in response to an increasingly complex and technical planning environment arising from many years of continuous changes to planning policy and legislation.

We regularly receive positive feedback from Planning Officers on the quality and completeness of our planning application submissions. In our view the presentation of a proposal must go beyond the understanding of the Planner involved and be usable and accessible to all interested parties, such as neighbours and Parish Councils.

In addition to the Kent Design Guide, Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) want planners and designers to:

  • Present thorough Design and Access Statements to tell the story of the design evolution, (this is a report that accompanies the planning application and details the site and the proposed development in greater detail).
  • Move beyond generic developments and standardised house types.
  • Build unique schemes which respond to the site and its surroundings.
  • Assemble a skilled Design Team such as ours at MKA, which can cover knowledge in architecture, planning, historic buildings or technical details etc. Thereby providing everything that is required to get the best result out of the pre-application design process.
  • Consider important factors at every stage including: design, quality sustainability, open space, landscaping and general wellbeing.

When to start communication with your Local Planning Authority?

Working with LPAs (Local Planning Authority) from the design inception is key to ensuring that all parties know what is being planned. This can happen through the use of a pre-application process, it gives LPAs the opportunity to have some design input from early on. Hopefully this will eliminate any elements of the design they feel will result in the design not being approved.

This is an advantage for all as it these changes can be incorporated in to the final design. It saves time, money and ultimately will make the main application process less stressful in the long term.

Want to bring your project ideas to life?

Get in touch to discuss them with us.