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TVBC document

Look at Romsey

A town design statement for Romsey

Design Statement pages at Test Valley
Read them here

What is a town design statement?
A town design statement is a description of the physical appearance of the town. It explains what is unique and special about the area. It draws attention to the local building styles, to important buildings and to landscape features. It includes a description of how the buildings are set out in relation to each other and highlights significant local views. From analysis of these it sets out recommended design guidelines which any new development should then take into account.

Who writes a town design statement?
Each design statement is written by the people who live in the area. It is open to all inhabitants to take part. Advice on content and presentation are provided by the local council's planning department.

What does it contain?
A design statement will cover the following topics:

  • History (relevant to townscape)
  • Area setting and landscape, including views
  • Settlement pattern
  • Open and other spaces
  • Building form e.g. height, shape, etc
  • Materials and fenestration and chimney details
  • Streets and street furniture
  • Trees, hedges and other landscape features
  • Boundary features e.g. walls, fences, etc
  • Statement of purpose, use and method of compilation

Why bother?
Town Design Statements can be adopted by the Borough Council (as local planning authority) as Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG). With this status they are then used to influence the outcome of planning applications. Developers and residents can use them to gain an overview of what is likely to be acceptable in the area. Design statements have been cited in planning appeals and used to reject unsuitable planning applications, which do not take local design sufficiently into account. They do not however determine whether or where development may take place, but they influence what sort of building and street scene is created or maintained. Village Design Statements have been prepared with the same purpose for rural settlements since the mid 1990s and locally eleven have been adopted by Test Valley Borough Council as SPG to date. These have played an important influencing role in the planning process, improving the design quality of new development.

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Look at Romsey
Why Romsey?
Because the town is special and valued by all of us who live and work here. There are many pressures on the town and it is important that any continuing changes of whatever scale are managed in order to preserve the unique character of this ancient market town. For that reason, the sponsoring bodies are prepared to commit time and money to support the project.

Romsey is one of the first towns to work on a design statement. A few towns have drawn up pilot design statements with government help. Romsey's project is locally based. It is led by the Romsey and District Society, with backing from Test Valley Borough Council planning department, Romsey Town Council, Romsey Extra Parish Council and CPRE.

Read more about the project management in the OVERVIEW. A PDF page of the Overview is also available there for printing.


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Look at Romsey Introduction