Urban design

Planning and building control

The council is committed to maintaining and raising the standard of design in our new buildings and public spaces. Good design is fundamental to making better places and improving the quality of people’s lives. We want to achieve this through:

The Waltham Forest Design Advice Panel can help by providing expert, independent design advice for development proposals. The council established the panel in partnership with Design Council Cabe to boost quality of life and encourage prosperity and environmental sustainability in Waltham Forest.

Each panel review can highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the design and any steps that can be taken to improve it. Design reviews are subject to the following charges:

  • Large-scale workshop review: £6,500
  • Standard workshop review: £5,950
  • Desktop review: £3,750

For further information on the service, please email the design and conservation team at urbandesign@walthamforest.gov.uk or download the Waltham Forest Design Advice Panel Guide (pdf 2.7MB).

Waltham Forest’s Design Charter for Schools was adopted in July 2018 following a four week consultation period. 

The Charter sets out the council’s commitment to achieving high quality design in our schools, and provides 10 key principles that can be applied to all schools. 

Download the Waltham Forest Design Charter for Schools (PDF 1.3MB)

Further information

For further information, please contact the Design and Conservation Team on 020 8496 6736 or 020 8496 6739

The Waltham Forest Design Charter sets out the council’s commitment to achieving high quality design in all new housing developments. It was developed to support the significant level of housing growth expected in Waltham Forest over the next few years.

The 10 key urban design principles of the charter are:

  1. High quality buildings - Encourage distinctive and innovative architecture using quality materials built to high standards.
  2. Responding to context - Ensure developments integrate with their surroundings and local heritage, and link with adjacent streets and paths to create direct and convenient routes to local services such as shops, schools and public transport.
  3. A mix of homes - Work with developers and partners to provide a mix of housing types and sizes that are accessible for all and meet the needs of residents both now and in the future.
  4. Good quality internal layouts - Ensure new homes have high quality spacious and adaptable rooms and living areas which meet current planning policy standards.
  5. Safe and overlooked streets - Promote housing layouts that have windows and doors facing on to streets and public areas so they are overlooked and feel safe.
  6. Quality gardens and private spaces - Ensure private and shared gardens are well-designed, safe and usable with good quality landscaping and planting.
  7. Energy efficient - Meet the challenges of climate change by promoting better energy sources in new developments.
  8. Well designed parking - Design for car, cycle parking and servicing at an early stage so it is convenient, safe and attractive and not left as an afterthought.
  9. People-friendly streets - Ensure high standards in the design and quality of streets and other public areas to encourage their use as social places, where pedestrians and cyclists come first.
  10. Well maintained and managed - Promote high standards of housing management and maintenance to ensure long term quality for residents.

Download the Waltham Forest Design Charter (pdf 277KB).

Introduced in 1990 and run in partnership with Waltham Forest Guardian, the Waltham Forest Design Awards was established to recognise, reward and celebrate quality architecture and urban design within the borough.

The 2017 competition opens on Monday 9 January. To see full guidance information and how to enter, visit Waltham Forest Design Awards 2017.  

See the winners of the Waltham Forest Design Awards 2014 (pdf 1.9MB).