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Council launches ambitious new Design Charter

As the pressure to deliver more housing intensifies, Waltham Forest Council has committed itself to delivering high quality residential developments during the launch of their Design Charter earlier this week.

Present at the launch event, which included a keynote speech from Teresa Borsuk, who was recently named Woman Architect of the Year 2015, were representatives from the many Housing Associations and developers who have endorsed the Charter.

These included Barratt London, Bellway, Peabody and ISHA, and the event was chaired by Nick Golding, editor of the Local Government Chronicle, who facilitated a thought-provoking discussion on the importance of good design in development.

The Design Charter came out of the need to ensure that in addition to delivering the sheer scale of housing growth needed, developers must continue to produce residential developments that are built in accordance with high quality design principles.

Councillor Clare Coghill, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and High Streets, launched the Charter at an event held on 23 November at the grade II listed William Morris Gallery, “Waltham Forest is blessed with some beautiful architecture, not least the William Morris Gallery.

“But it’s not just our prominent buildings. Just step a street across from the Gallery to Winns Terrace you can admire the wonderful Warner housing in our new conservation area.

“New housing is vital and no borough in London is delivering the kinds of numbers we are. But we can’t compromise on the quality of design, which contributes so significantly to the character of the area. It is vital that in the race to deliver more homes, we are mindful of the built environment, as well as the needs of residents.”

Waltham Forest is one of the fastest growing boroughs in London. By 2020 the Council has ambitious plans to see 12,000 new homes built across the borough; significantly exceeding the London Mayor’s housing targets. Within that target, the Council’s ambition is to ensure that half the homes are affordable, with 2,000 of them being Council homes.

The Charter sets out 10 key urban design principles that will guide all future development in the borough, both in relation to the quality of housing and the wider “place-making” elements of new development. This includes the design of safe and “people-friendly” streets, and a clear commitment to providing a mix of homes that meet the needs of residents both now and in the future.

PHOTO: Councillor Clare Coghill sets out how the Design Charter will help preserve the unique character of Waltham Forest.

Notes for Editors:

  • The Design Charter has been endorsed by Barratt London, CBHA, Christian Action, Circle Housing, Countryside, East Thames, Family Mosaic, Hadley Homes, Hill, Home Group, Islington & Shoreditch HA, Legal & General, L&Q, Lovell, Metropolitan, Mulalley, Peabody, Solum Regeneration and Swan.

  • It is fully supported fully supported by the Council partners, and has benefitted from the involvement of the Design Council/CABE, the Government’s advisor on good design.

  • About Teresa Borsuk – Teresa has over 30 years’ experience in the housing, mixed-use and regeneration section. Her remarkable contribution to improving equality within her own practice also recently earned her the coveted title of AJ Woman Architect of the Year 2015. Recent work includes The Scene, Walthamstow.

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