Published date 20 July 2022

Ambitious charter launched to help build better places

Placemaking Charter launch
Image credit: Paul Blakemore

A new Charter to make sure Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire homes, offices and communities mean local people can live thriving lives both now and in the future has been launched by the West of England Combined Authority, led by Metro Mayor Dan Norris.

The West of England Placemaking Charter is putting people at the heart of the future development of the region. "Let's consider new homes" said Metro Mayor Dan Norris, "there is a world of difference between some of those badly built identikit houses, and beautifully designed homes using local materials. We also need to ensure we are building homes that are fit for the future. That means they need to be resilient to climate change and not overheat even in the kind of weather we're seeing now, and be able to adapt to people's needs. Today you might want a home office and a playroom, in thirty years’ time you might want a downstairs bedroom. I have also long called for wildlife-friendly homes, hedgehog holes and access to green space really matters."

The five principles in the Charter aim to guide developers to create places that are "future-ready", "connected", "biodiverse", "characterful" and "healthy". Over 200 representatives from the region ranging from home builders to community groups have worked together on the project.

Mayor Norris added: “The West of England is an amazing place to grow up and grow old in, but I know it can be even better and central to this is setting some really ambitious principles for the places we want to see and create. Building a strong and sustainable future requires getting serious about how we design the buildings we live and meet in and the infrastructure that ties us all together”.

Some of the region’s leading planning and development experts gathered at Design West, a key partner in producing the Charter, to endorse the document.

Dr Anna Rutherford, Director of Design West said: “Great placemaking takes collaboration and a shared vision. The West of England has led the way in partnership working across the region, across sector and society, to develop a Placemaking Charter that sets out our shared ambitions and expectations for future development. The Charter is a critical tool in championing quality homes and healthy lives for all, whilst rising to the challenge of the Climate Emergency.

More details on the West of England Placemaking Charter can be found at: westofengland-ca.gov.uk/placemakingcharter

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