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Guide for Housing in the High Weald

14th July 2020

The High Weald Design Guide is the result of three years’ work to develop clear guidance for housing developments within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The aim of the guide is to ensure that all future housing in the AONB is designed in a way which is in keeping with the unique landscape and character of the area.

The guide has been created by the High Weald Joint Advisory Committee which is a partnership of 15 local authorities, Natural England and a number of other interested organisations.

The committee faced the difficult challenge of finding a balance between the ever increasing demand for new housing and the need to protect and enhance the AONB.

This work was led by a group of planning and design officers from all the local authorities together with experts from Design South East and other specialist consultants. Their ideas were then the subject of an eight-week period of formal public consultation last summer.

The result is a guide which puts the setting of the High Weald as a first priority in the design process – ensuring that the character of the High Weald’s unique and ancient landscape is prioritised to preserve it for future generations.

The guidance extends to cover the layout and structure of new developments, the appearance and sustainability of the buildings and the importance of local vegetation and wildlife habitats.

‘By this approach, the longest-lasting design decisions will be embedded into the site, ensuring that the housing developments are truly ‘of the place’, a genuine and integrated part of the existing settlement, rather than a generic ‘added on’ estate, and that schemes conserve and enhance the High Weald character into the future,’ says the High Weald’s Claire Tester.