We are delighted to report that feedback from The Design Review Panel (www.designreviewpanel.co.uk) assisted a recent public enquiry for a 200-dwelling proposal at Baldwins Gate, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough, Staffordshire.
The scheme promotor and applicant for the planning application were Richborough (https://www.richboroughestates.co.uk/) and Group Design Director Charlotte Lewis has provided the below comment:-
“Richborough regularly undertake design review and value the positive role it plays in strategic design and planning. We first sought views from an independent Panel back in 2013 for our first outline scheme of 113 dwellings in Baldwins Gate, which was allowed at appeal. We took a similar approach for an adjoining second scheme in 2021, which also underwent the appeal process and was decided favourably in July this year.
On both occasions, early-stage design review helped us test initial ideas, develop the right vision and optimise the way in which our proposals responded to context and village character. Design review [The Design Review Panel - www.designreviewpanel.co.uk]] greatly assisted the appeal process, aiding cross-examination on landscape and visual matters.”
Baldwins Gate is a village situated within the jurisdiction of Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, Staffordshire. This site is currently, a parcel of agricultural land spanning approximately 13.2 ha (31.6 acres) on the periphery of the village, roughly 500 meters from its centre. Its close proximity to existing residential areas and amenities in the village makes it a sustainable location for the proposed new homes; the village centre is equipped with essential facilities including a primary school, a post office, general store, doctor’s surgery, public house/restaurant and petrol filling station.
In November 2021, an Outline Planning application was submitted to the Borough Council. The proposals envision the construction of up to 200 residential units of which 25% are proposed to be affordable housing.
Infrastructure forms a crucial part of the proposals, and the plans entail highway enhancements for the village, as well as S106 contributions to improve education provision.
In terms of green infrastructure, approximately 50% of the site will be opened up for public recreational use. This includes provisions for a children’s play area designed with natural elements, dedicated allotment spaces, a community orchard, and expansive new country park for the benefit of village residents.
The design team were lead by Urban Design Box (https://www.urbandesignbox.co.uk/) and Director Jonathan Vernon Smith said the following:-
“Following Urban Design Box’s instruction to develop master planning proposals for sensitive landscape driven residential proposals at Baldwins Gate, we carried out a thorough visioning and appraisal process which led to consultation with stakeholders on our early vision for development. As part of our engagement, the project team contacted The Design Review Panel [www.designreviewpanel.co.uk] to seek independent peer review of the masterplan proposals, as part of our design development process and to gain valuable peer review from the experienced and objective Panel.
We were really pleased and encouraged by the design review panel process and the feedback received, implementing all of the suggestions and improving the emerging proposals as a result. We subsequently received no objections on design and the application was allowed following a public inquiry in July 2023."
The Design Review Panel carried out a site visit and review of the proposals on the 7th July 2021. The session was attended by Richborough, their Design Team and the Local Authority. The site visit was an extremely important part of this review, which enabled the Panel to gain a thorough understanding of the site and its relationship to both its immediate edge of village location as well as the wider landscape setting.
Following a rigorous review process, planning permission was officially granted in a public inquiry conducted in July 2023.
Click here to see a copy of the local authorities original refusal notice…
Click here to see a copy of the Planning inspectors decision approving the proposals …
The Design Review Panel provides independent, impartial, multidisciplinary and expert design review Panel sessions for applicants, design teams and local authorities, nationally across England.
Feedback from The Design Review Panel is a material consideration in accordance with paragraph 133 on The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).