Protecting and enhancing our city’s unique environment

Uplands Estate SSC Westren Park

The city has many unique and special features, including its waterfront, parks and open spaces, the Bargate and medieval town walls. In addition to promoting major growth in the city, the plan will protect these features and deliver improvements where possible.

The city has over 250 nationally listed buildings and structures as well as locally important buildings, registered parks and open spaces and archaeological remains that reflect the city’s rich maritime heritage. However the city’s heritage faces major threats including development no longer requiring planning permission and the lack of funding to protect unused historic buildings and ruins.

The new Local Plan will consider the best way to protect historic buildings and areas in the city and how to enhance them in the longer term. This includes finding new uses for historic buildings and structures.

Open spaces

The plan will also show how we will protect the natural environment and open spaces. The plan will designate and protect important open spaces, enhance the green grid (the network of routes and spaces linking open spaces with neighbourhoods, the surrounding countryside, waterfront and the wider sub-region) and maintain strategic gaps around the city. New developments are required to contribute to on-site open space and green infrastructure such as roof gardens. The council also has a duty to protect important sites for wildlife and protected species and to consider biodiversity when looking at the impact of new development.

We plan to continue the approach of encouraging more energy efficient buildings and renewable energy and building a city-wide flood defence along or near the shoreline. The council is currently consulting on options to improve flood defences on the west bank of the River Itchen (see River Itchen Flood Alleviation Scheme). Where it is part of a redevelopment such as Royal Pier waterfront and Chapel Riverside, flood defences could also help increase access to the waterfront.

Higher quality development

New development will contribute to achieving a higher quality built environment. In areas of high quality and established character, the plan will complement and enhance it. Where the existing character is weak, high quality design will help an area develop its identity. This extends beyond the buildings into public and private spaces and also covers issues such as boundary treatments, landscaping and parking provision. Taller buildings in particular must be in the right locations and be well designed.

The design of new homes will be impacted by the national standards that the government is introducing. These will replace local standards and are designed to reduce complexity for developers building in different areas. The new Local Plan will reflect these changes which cover security, energy efficiency, space standards, accessibility and water efficiency. The council will consider whether to require an enhanced space standard to increase the size of new homes.