Design at Surrey Heath

The importance of high quality design

The Government attaches great importance to the design of the built environment and expects local planning authorities to have robust and comprehensive policies in their plans that set out the quality of development expected for the area

Achieving high quality design in new development is seen by Surrey Heath as a vital tool in helping to deliver the Council’s ambition to ensure that Surrey Heath is a great place and community, with a great future.

The Council has a design policy in its Core Strategy and Development Management Policies DPD (policy DM9) and has prepared a number of specific design related documents:

  • Western Urban Area Character SPD 2012
  • Residential Design Guide (draft) 2017
  • Lightwater Village Design Statement 2007
  • West End Village Design Statement 2016
  • Deepcut SPD
  • Yorktown Landscape Strategy 2008
  • Local Heritage Assets SPD 2012
  • Various conservation area appraisals

The Design Review Process

To support the delivery of high quality design in the Borough the Council has decided to use an independent design review process to assist it in scrutinising the design of larger new developments in Surrey Heath. 

Indicative thresholds (adopted by the Council on 7 June 2016) for triggering a need for Design Review are currently set at:

  1. Housing schemes in excess of 50 dwellings (gross); and
  2. Any other developments where the new floor area exceeds 10,000 sq metres (gross);

Proposals that meet this criteria will be expected to go through a collaborative design review process which will involve an element of independent design review by the external body - Design south-east (D:SE)

The benefits of a design review:

  1. Provides a clearly defined process for developing high quality designs;
  2. Improves the design of proposals
  3. Gives Members access to independent design expertise and impartial views on the design quality of a large scheme.  This will aid Members in their decision-making.


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