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Community Led Planning & Neighbourhood Plans

Village Design Statements (VDS)

What is the purpose of Village Design Statements?

The purpose of Village Design Statements is to improve and encourage better quality design in towns and villages and are useful for all types of development not only that requiring planning permission.

A Village Design Statement is not about whether development should take place but about how development should be undertaken so as to respect local identify; it is about managing change in a settlement, not preventing it.

Who Produces Village Design Statements?

A key aspect of Village Design Statements is that they are written and researched by local communities, with only advisory input from the Council, and so represent a community view of how new development should be designed in order to retain a sense of place.

What is the status of a Village Design Statement?

The local planning authority may endorse a Village Design Statement as a material planning consideration in determining planning applications as long as the Statement complies with national local planning policy.

Where a Village Design Statement has been endorsed by the local planning authority it will be seen to carry more weight when planning applications are being determined or at appeal.

Woodham Walter VDS

The Woodham Walter VDS has been prepared by the Woodham Walter VDS committee, in consultation with the local community and Maldon District Council.

The document provides guidance to householders, designers and developers on design acceptable to the community.  It will help to protect important or historic buildings, open spaces and local character and assist the Parish Council and District Council in determining planning applications in line with community views.

The Woodham Walter VDS was formally endorsed by Maldon District Council as a material planning consideration on 13 June 2017.

Althorne VDS

The Althorne VDS was prepared by the Althorne Community Together (ACT) and was formally endorsed as a material planning consideration by the Council in August 2015.

This VDS focuses on the settlement of Althorne at the heart of the Parish but also considers the wider rural area covered by the Parish.  It has been prepared to assist designers and developers with future development proposals on acceptable design from the community's point of view.  It should help to avoid conflict in the planning negotiations and it should help protect visually important buildings and open spaces.

Wickham Bishops VDS

This has been prepared by the Wickham Bishops Village Design Statement Association (WBVDSA), comprising of villagers including parish councillors from Wickham Bishops Parish Council. 

WBVDSA was formally inaugurated in February 2008 and has received help and support from the community engagement team at the Rural Community Council for Essex (RCCE).

Additionally, the planning policy team at Maldon District Council has provided advice and comment during the production of the plan.  In creating the VDS, WBVDSA was mindful of the need to ensure that planning officers at Maldon District Council were satisfied that the plan was being produced in a manner which would ultimately deliver a document of value.

The Village Design statement was endorsed as a material planning consideration in July 2011.

Heybridge Basin VDS

Following a period of gaining local opinion and views the village design statement (VDS) was prepared by Heybridge Basin villagers and co-ordinated by the Heybridge Basin Conservation Society.

The VDS underwent public consultation in June 2007 and was formally endorsed by Maldon District Council as a material consideration in August 2007.

This VDS aims to provide local guidelines to the future development of Heybridge Basin.  The process has been supported by the Rural Community Council for Essex and Maldon District Council.