A design code for Skerningham

A design code for Skerningham
04 March 2022

Residents are invited to take part in a series of public engagement events to help produce a design code for the proposed Skerningham Garden Village, a chance to shape the look and feel of any new developments.

In adopting the Local Plan last month, the council agreed with a requirement from the Government inspector who passed the plan as sound that we would write and adopt a design code, with engagement from the public, as soon as possible.

Work is now underway to prepare a design code which, once agreed, will be a legally binding document which developers must take into account when submitting a planning application. The short time frame given by the inspector is to ensure the document has legal weight before any planning applications are submitted.

The council is working with independent specialist consultants DesigNE, a not-for-profit organisation that has worked on projects around the region, to run the public engagement process and create the design code.

A design code sets out expectations about the look and feel of a development to make sure a new estate reflects local character and preferences. It will ensure that Skerningham Garden Village will be developed to a high-quality standard.

Areas that could be influenced through a design code include the future look and feel of buildings and green spaces in the area, making sure they tie in with existing developments while encouraging the best of modern design and build techniques.

It could also include looking at biodiversity and protecting existing landscapes and the overall streetscape to encourage outdoor play for children and activity for all residents, as well as road safety and climate change features.

The first in a series of meetings and workshops will take place on Thursday, March 24, between 5.30pm and 7.30pm in Central Hall, in the Dolphin Centre. The first meeting will be an explanatory session by DesigNE about what a design code is and how it works, as well as an opportunity to ask questions about the process.

Further practical workshops will take place in a venue to be decided, but which will be closer to the Skerningham area.

The meeting is open to anyone and booking is not needed.

Councillor Alan Marshall, cabinet member for economy, said: “This is an ideal opportunity for local people, young and old, to get involved in shaping how this area of the borough will look in the future.

“We know that feelings around this potential development are running high and there are differing opinions on what should or shouldn’t be developed.

“By working together on a design code we can ensure that the new garden village is an area where people will want to live and be part of the whole community that is Darlington. We need to work on this quickly so I urge anyone who wants to get involved to do so without delay.”

John Devlin, consultant with desigNE added: “We really hope to work closely with local people and make sure that they feel involved and informed while helping us to develop an exemplary design code for Skerningham. We want to produce tangible stuff that people really feel is theirs.”

It is hoped that the design code will be in place and have legal standing by autumn this year.

More details are available on the council’s website www.darlington.gov.uk/planningpolicy


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