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Agenda item

Housing Delivery Programme- Design Manual

This report introduces Members to the Housing Delivery Programme Design Manual which is being developed by the Housing Delivery team. The Design Guide will influence the way Council sites are developed and give Members and the public a clearer idea of the council’s standards in meeting the housing need through the concept of “building better”.



The committee welcomed Caroline Newnham (Abbeyfields Society), Phil Lacey (York Housing Association) and Phil Bixby (Constructive Individuals Architects) to the meeting to take part in a round the table discussion on the new Housing Delivery Design Manual.


Michael Jones, Head of Housing Delivery, was also in attendance and began by introducing the topic and explaining to Members that this was a draft of the Design Manual and that thoughts would be most welcome.


The Chair decided to take each objective of the manual individually and invited comments from Members and guests.


Meeting Housing Need


In response to initial comments, the officer highlighted that the figures within this section were based on high level assumptions as there were unknowns at this stage on delivery costs and numbers of houses. It was also noted that the figure of £150 million for the programme included both land acquisition as well as development.


In response to comments on the percentage of affordable housing, the officer stated that the 40% noted was the minimum and it certainly wasn’t a limit. The blend of market sale and affordable housing was designed to help create a sustainable long term delivery model where the money from market sale properties can help develop more housing sites in the future.


Members also asked about Public Engagement and the officer noted that the Council have recently appointed a new architecture practice that they will be working with for future phases. As part of that procurement process, the practice would be bringing in a specialist on public engagement and that a draft public engagement strategy was currently being developed.


Creating and Connecting Communities


Phil Lacey praised the Council for enforcing the ‘tenure blind’ element of section 106 and also the thought of ‘play streets’.


Members noted the omission of urban food production in the manual and officers stated that they would want that to be brought forward as part of the Council’s consultation, to ensure that it is something that is wanted in the community and is sustainable in the long term.


Members also discussed additional community or commercial facilities within developments and it was noted that it was important to look at each development on a site by site basis, mapping facilities in the area to begin with and ensuring that any additional services or facilities offered do not detract from communities that already exist, where connectivity with an existing community / services might be a better option.


Sustainable Development


Phil Bixby stated that he thought Climate resilience should be mentioned in the manual but was pleased to see the desire for passive house standards mentioned.


Officers stated that the architectural company they are working with had recently delivered a passive house scheme in Norwich and they are bringing that learning to York.


Members, officers and guests agreed it would be important to develop local sustainable building skill as there was a current gap in skills, not just in York, but nationwide.


Active and Sustainable Travel


Members discussed the provision for cycle storage and praised the inclusion of a higher minimal standard within developments. Car usage and parking within developments was also discussed and how the manual could be used to encourage developments with less car parking available.


It was noted by the Head of Housing Delivery that there will always be a need to evaluate each site independently and judge provision accordingly.





Healthy Placemaking


Members discussed the provision of open spaces and how this would be decided and mentioned the importance of protecting bio-diversity and pollinators. It was also noted that trees should be considered an important part of Healthy Placemaking and Members said they would be pleased to see this added to the manual.


The design of houses was also mentioned and the importance of aesthetics in the York environment, note was again given to the recent passive house development in Norwich, which was regarded as having successfully balanced sustainability and design.


It was noted by the officer, that each site needed to be judged separately, looking at what the need of the local area was and how the development could either help provide open space or link into existing ones.

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