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New Design Guide for the New Forest

A revised Design Guide for building development in the New Forest National Park sees a renewed focus on conserving local character, the climate emergency and sustainability.

The New Forest’s buildings are an important part of what makes the National Park special, giving the area its distinctive local character.

As the local planning authority, the New Forest National Park Authority’s role is to ensure that any building works are of a high quality and sympathetic to the nationally-important landscape of the National Park. It deals with around 1,000 planning applications each year – nearly 90% of which are approved.

The Guide is used by property owners and architects looking to submit planning applications. It is also a reference document for town and parish councils and local communities or neighbours when commenting on applications. It’s one of the factors considered by the National Park Authority when determining planning applications.

Since the first New Forest National Park Design Guide was adopted in 2011 there have been significant changes in both local and national policy and guidance, leading to the Guide being revised.

The new Guide has a greater focus on climate change and sustainability which have risen up the planning agenda in recent years. It also looks at areas of greatest pressure in new developments within the National Park, such as types of boundaries used and protecting dark night skies by reducing light pollution.

It provides guidance on the right materials to use in new development, while a new section on sustainability includes ‘green’ measures which can be incorporated, while respecting the environmental protections and local character of the New Forest National Park. These include native planting, the use of energy efficiency measures in new buildings and using locally-sourced materials.

The Guide – which is a supplementary planning document – was developed following a six-week public consultation with organisations such as Historic England and Natural England; town and parish councils; water companies; conservation groups and architects giving feedback as well as local residents.

Gordon Bailey, Chair of the NPA’s Planning Committee, said: ‘The updated National Park Design Guide supports our local planning policies, and will play a key role in helping us make planning decisions.

‘The Government has called for planning authorities to have local design guidance in place so planning applicants can see at an early stage what the expectations are for the standard and type of design.

‘Our revised Design Guide also highlights the positive contribution new development can make to the character of the National Park.’

Full details can be found at

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