Macclesfield-based e*Scape Urbanists have been appointed by Cheshire East Council to produce a design guide for residential developments in the borough. Developers are invited to a launch event next week.
e*Scape, headed by Roger Lomas, has experience of advising house builders in the area including Barratt, Persimmon, Morris Homes.
A first draft is due to be produced by the beginning of May, prior to the General Election. e*Scape has started a survey of the vernacular style of housing around the borough. Lomas said the guide would not seek to recommend pastiche but would be grounded in the local context of materials and layout of settlements.
The guide will not cover site allocation, rather the detailed design of approved developments coming forward. The council has been locked in fierce legal battles with housebuilders keen to deliver new housing in the borough for the past few years. The council has repeatedly failed to convince planning inspectors at public inquiry it has a five-year supply of deliverable sites to satisfy demand.
Consultation and revisions to the design guide are scheduled to be completed by the autumn when Cheshire East Council hopes to adopt the guide at the same time as its Local Plan, currently suspended during examination for major amendment by the local authority.
Developers are invited to the evening event next Tuesday 17 March in the boardroom at Sandbach Town Hall from 5.30pm.
Cllr Michael Jones, leader of Cheshire East Council, will open the event. Members of the council's planning team will be available to discuss issues at the end of the event.
Sean Hannaby, interim planning executive at Cheshire East Council, said in a letter to invited guests: "We hope that it will be a frank and open discussion about how the design guide can help us all contribute to making development better and more sustainable in Cheshire East."
- To register your interest in attending email David Hallam, principal conservation and design officer at email@example.com or Roger Lomas, managing director of e*Scape at firstname.lastname@example.org by close of business on Friday 13 March.