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  1. Introduction
  2. Background to the Plan

Part One

  3. General strategy and Part One policies

Part Two

  4. The reasons for the Council's strategy
  5. Environment
  6. Housing
  7. Employment and economic activity
  8. Traffic and transportation
    Annex 1 - Parking policy standards
  9. Shopping and town centres
  10. Tourism and leisure
  11. Bexleyheath Town Centre
  12. Thames-side
  13. Community services
  14 Minerals and waste processing
  15. Monitoring and review

Maps and plans

  4.1 Context diagram
  7.1 Crayford Industrial Area
  9.1 Sidcup - Major district centre
  9.2 Crayford - Major district centre
  9.3 Erith - Major district centre
  9.4 Welling - Major district centre
  9.5 Blackfen - District centre
  9.6 Belvedere - District centre
  9.7 Northumberland Heath - District centre
  9.8 Old Bexley - District centre
  11.1 Bexleyheath – Strategic centre
  12.1 Thames Policy Area
  12.2 Erith Riverside Redevelopment areas referred to in Policy TS21
    Lesnes Abbey Woods Nature Reserve
    Danson Park Bog Garden Nature Reserve
    Foots Cray Meadows Nature Reserve
    Crossness Nature Reserve
  K. Controlled Parking Zones

Design and Development Control guidelines

  1. New residential development
  2. Extensions to houses
  3. Residential conversions
  4. Considerate design for the less agile
  5. Highways considerations in Development Control
  6. Erith Riverside
  7. Shopfronts and advertisements
  8. Industrial and commercial development
  9. Temporary planning permissions
  10. Playspace provision in new developments


  A Glossary
  B Local Nature Reserves
  C Areas and Sites of Nature Conservation
  D1 Statutorily listed buildings
  D2 Locally listed buildings
  D3 Scheduled ancient monuments
  D4 Registered historic parks and gardens
  E Conservation Areas
  F1 Housing provision in Bexley (April 2004)
  F2 Housing proposals schedule
  F3 Residential Areas of Special Character
  G Neighbourhood Centres
  H Hierarchy of public open space
  I Business land provision
  J Additional uses for which Policy E13 applies
  K Existing and proposed Controlled Parking Zones
  L Key indicators and targets for the UDP
  M Index to policies by subject
Policy list
Policy text

Design and Development Control Guidelines


1.1 Introduction

1.1.1 Strategic Guidance (superseded by the London Plan 2004) stated that 5,320 net additional dwellings should be provided in the period 1997 to 2016. New residential development is by far the most important component in delivering this accommodation.

1.1.2 Policy H3 in the Unitary Development Plan states that new residential development should be compatible with the character or appearance of the area in which it is located, having regard to various design criteria. Other policies in Chapter 6 of the Plan set out the Council's policies for residential density, the protection of residential amenity and privacy, policies for particular types of development and policies for Areas of Special Character. Applicants should first consider these policies, as they will be the main considerations when determining applications for planning permission. The Council is seeking individual buildings that are well designed and give adequate regard to their setting. Particular attention should be given to ensuring the design is well proportioned and is sympathetic to its surroundings. In addition, attention should be paid to the quality of bricks and other materials, style of windows and the circumstances where the use of specialised materials is appropriate.

1.1.3 The guidelines relate to all sizes and types of housing development. Further advice can be obtained from the Council’s Development Control Section. From time to time, supplementary guidance may be published on particular sites.

1.2 Layout, privacy and amenity space (Policies H3 -H7)

1.2.1 In new proposals careful consideration should be given to the way the buildings relate in size to each other and their surroundings.

1.2.2 Layout of individual dwellings within a proposal should have regard to the creation of spaces in between, to ensure that habitable rooms, and kitchens, have a pleasant outlook.

1.2.3 Spaces between buildings should be so designed to maximise their use and enjoyment by residents and to minimise problems of safety at night. New development should allow a minimum gap of 1.5 metres between the flank wall of any property and its site boundary in order to safeguard natural light, ensure independent access to the rear and help maintenance. Where a habitable room situated on a flank wall of an adjoining property relies on the elevation for sun and daylight, new buildings should be designed to safeguard this natural sun and daylight for adjoining occupiers.

1.2.4 In accordance with UDP Policy H7, new dwellings and residential layouts should be designed to ensure adequate privacy from visual intrusion for their occupants and those of neighbouring dwellings. This can be achieved by spatial separation and the use of suitable design techniques, such as landscaping or screen fencing. Development should provide for a distance of at least 22m between habitable rooms or kitchens in buildings of up to two storeys in height and a more substantial distance between habitable rooms or kitchens where at least one building is three or more storeys high. A distance of at least 16m between a habitable room and a blank wall of a building should also be provided where buildings are up to two storeys high, and a more substantial distance in other cases.

1.2.5 In accordance with Policy H6, new housing development will normally only be permitted where there is adequate communal and/or private amenity space for use by the occupants. To achieve this, a minimum of 13 metres depth of rear garden space will be sought on all new developments. This is to ensure that, in the event of subsequent rear extensions being built to new properties, adequate rear garden space would remain. There should be a minimum of 22 metres required between facing windows of habitable rooms or kitchens, in order to maintain adequate privacy. (It is intended that this distance may often be exceeded as a result of compliance with the 13 metre garden recommendation). For development created by taking part of an existing residential property, the existing house should also retain a minimum rear garden depth of 13 metres. In cases where one or more dwellings is over two storeys high, a more substantial distance will be sought.

1.2.6 Where one dwelling faces the blank wall of another property a minimum of 16 metres should be allowed between the upper storey of buildings of two storeys height in order to give or safeguard a pleasant outlook for the occupiers of the dwelling facing the blank wall. This is to accord with Policy H7 and applies whether or not one of the dwellings is a bungalow. A more substantial distance should be provided for buildings of more than two storeys.

1.2.7 In most cases, family dwellings (suitable for three persons or more) should be provided with a directly accessible, private amenity space. In exceptional cases, for example where small dwellings are provided as part of a larger development including shared amenity space, private amenity space may be inappropriate, in which case provision will be sought as if they were flats.

1.2.8 Flat developments and maisonettes of three storeys or more should be provided with access to adequate amenity open space provision equivalent to at least 45% of the site area of the development. This is to ensure that there is sufficient space to give their occupants reasonable access and a good outlook and the site is not overdeveloped in relation to its surroundings. Two storey developments should be provided with sufficient amenity space to meet these objectives whilst having regard to the guidelines for new housing. In the defined town centres, where it can be demonstrated that it is not possible to meet the amenity space standards for flatted accommodation, the Council will consider a relaxation where compensating external amenity provision is available nearby or additional internal space or balcony provision is made.

1.2.9 Communal amenity spaces should be provided as a usable area of convenient size and shape and should ideally be located adjacent to existing private gardens or the flats themselves. These spaces should be appropriately designed so as to give a sense of enclosure and privacy, since it is intended to supplement or replace private open space.

1.2.10 Where practical the orientation of communal spaces should be designed to minimise afternoon shadows, accommodate seating and incorporate planting so as to encourage their use.

1.3 Sound insulation and noise

1.3.1 In considering whether the design of a development could lead to its residents experiencing a noise nuisance, Planning Officers will be guided by the advice of the Head of Environmental Health (Home and Environment). The development should accord with the guidance in Planning Policy Guidance Note 24 and British Standard 4142. In general, the following principles will apply:

  1. Dwellings should be designed so that living rooms in one dwelling are not created next to (vertically or horizontally) bedrooms in another dwelling.
  2. External traffic noise measured at 1 metre from the façade of any bedroom or living room should not exceed 65 dBA LAeq (18 hour) (derivation BS 8233). In certain circumstances, there will be a requirement to provide internal noise insulation and external noise limitation treatment to enable development to occur.
  3. The site layout, internal design and building specification should be such that the L10 1 hour noise level within any habitable room and caused by external noise sources should not exceed 45dBA from 7am to 11pm and 35dBA from 11pm to 7am.
  4. Industrial and commercial noise measured as a 1 hour LAeq sound level should not exceed the LA90 level measured at the boundary (nearest the source of noise) of the land containing the dwelling.

1.4 Dwelling size and room size

1.4.1 Rooms should function comfortably and efficiently for their intended purpose. Size, shape, design, position of doors and windows, natural lighting and ventilation will be taken into account in assessing applications. Separate advice can be obtained from the Council’s Development Control Section on room sizes that the Council considers appropriate in new development.

1.4.2 Corridors should meet the widths required by Part M of the Building Regulations 2000-2004. Entrance lobbies should be allowed for occupiers to circulate freely. Impediments to safe movement around a dwelling caused by steep, narrow and winding staircases and ill-defined changes in level must be avoided.

1.4.3 Flats should be self-contained with a separate lockable entrance.

1.4.4 Rooms should in general lead off a lobby or hallway. For example, sanitary areas, apart from en suite bathrooms, should be accessible off a common area and not solely through a bedroom.

1.5 Soft and hard landscaping (Policy H3)

1.5.1 General:

Applicants will be expected to submit a fully detailed soft and hard landscaping scheme prior to the granting of planning permission or as a condition of that permission.

1.5.2 Soft landscaping:

Applicants will be expected to draw up a separate vegetation plan showing the location and type of existing vegetation. Existing trees and shrub species should be retained if at all possible. The species to be retained should be protected during the construction period by chestnut pale fencing or equivalent which should be erected at the outer edge of the branches.

1.5.3 Applicants will be expected to present a detailed soft landscaping scheme which includes species schedules. Schedules must show the location, number and species to be planted and need to be illustrated on an appropriate scale, normally 1:50 or 1:100 depending on the scale of the proposal. Underground services, where appropriate, should be considered at the design stage and grouped to act as a minimum constraint on the location of soft landscaping.

1.5.4 The character and form of new landscaping should build on the existing vegetation. New soft landscaping should also reflect the scale, and form of the new development. The new species should also be beneficial to wildlife and the planting of native species should be initially considered. Accordingly, in most cases native species should be used. However, it is recognised that in certain locations non-native species may be more appropriate.

1.5.5 Hard landscaping:

The new soft landscaping plan should also present hard landscaping details. All walls, steps, hard surfacing needs to be indicated on this plan. Details such as colour and manufacturer and type of material need to be presented. Also required are construction details illustrating the types of bond to be used. Detailed drawings illustrating the cutting of the hard bricks, blocks, etc. are also recommended.

1.5.6 It is strongly recommended that a qualified landscape architect be employed to draw up any hard and soft landscaping schemes.

1.6 Parking, access and pedestrian movement

1.6.1 In applying the Council's adopted vehicle parking standards for new residential development, consideration will be given to:

  1. Convenience and security of locations. Car parking should be provided close to the dwellings served and car parking courts should, where possible, be capable of surveillance from nearby dwellings.
  2. Visual objectives. The appearance of car parking areas should be softened by the use of planting and, where possible, landscaping, and the variation of the surfacing materials.
  3. Communal parking areas and garage courts should be restricted in size in order to achieve convenience and satisfactory visual appearance.
  4. Vehicle parking spaces should be located a reasonable distance from windows, in order to protect the amenities of residents, especially from noise and fumes.
  5. Garages provided in connection with new housing developments, whether detached, integral or part-integral with the dwelling should have a clear unobstructed internal width of 2.4m and a minimum internal length of 5m, ideally 6m.

1.6.2 Individual vehicle parking spaces should be clearly shown on any layout plans submitted.

1.6.3 New residential proposals should have regard for the highway considerations contained in Design and Development Control Guideline No.5.

1.6.4 Pedestrian and cycle routes should be clearly defined, safe and convenient to use.

1.7 Refuse and storage areas

1.7.1 Bin enclosures to accommodate at least one dustbin per dwelling should be provided in a convenient location for collection. These must be designed and sited so that they do not dominate the front garden and where possible they should be screened by planting. Matching materials to that of the dwelling should be used. The provisions of BS5906:1980 and Part H4 of the Building Regulations should be followed as regards siting and carrying distances.

1.7.2 Wherever possible storage areas for portable items such as bicycles, prams and lawn mowers should be provided.