Manchester City Council has launched a six-week consultation into its draft design and quality standard for residential developments, which will “demand design excellence in all new housing built in the city”.
The 140-page document outlining design standards was approved by the council’s executive in June. The consultation will end on 2 October.
According to the draft, “this guidance is not a substitution for design talent and does not intend to impose any architectural styles or particular tastes. Equally this guidance should not replace or stifle innovation.”
Space standards within homes should comply with the Nationally Described Space Standards as a minimum. This means that a one-bedroom flat for a single occupier must be at least 430 sq ft.
Floor-to-ceiling heights of 2.5m are “strongly encouraged in all habitable areas”, with larger windows with an aspect to the sky and direct views to the outside. Single-aspect, North-facing accommodation should be avoided.
The document details corridor widths and lengths, lifts, the distance between buildings and the size of private external amenity space.
A sounding board made up of senior members of the Manchester property community chaired by architect Stephen Hodder was brought together to develop the draft standards guide, providing advice on planning, urban design, placemaking and architecture.
Hodder said: “I’m intensely aware of the importance of the role we have been given. We’re not just talking about the look and feel of new residential development, but a wholesale city-wide approach to how people live, how they interact with the homes they live in and how those homes impact on the carbon reduction ambitions of the city. It’s an exciting prospect, but one that needs to be taken incredibly seriously.”
The document looks at nine components:
Make it Manchester: developers must understand the city’s unique character, heritage old and new, density and scale in various parts of the city and appreciate how new homes will fit in to what’s already there
Make it bring people together: new homes must encourage a sense of community and neighbourliness, offering a mix of tenures to promote a mix of people
Make it animate streets and spaces: understand the relationship between new homes and its environment and create public space
Make it easy to get around: make sure developments have good transport links, along with good walking and cycling provision
Make work with the landscape: development should improve the connection with the local environment with improved biodiversity, as well as greening and water schemes
Make it practical: dealing with waste, car parking, bike storage and visitors should be made as easy as possible
Make it future proof: design must anticipate the impacts of climate change and extreme weather with efficient design and adaptability
Make it a home: sufficient space, natural light, privacy and storage are essential for people to settle down and flourish
Make it happen: ensuring proposals are delivered, to a high quality, with high design standards and high sustainability