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Urban design

Good design makes better places and improves lives.

Last updated: 10 June 2022

Good design helps make better places and improves our quality of life. Read about our work to maintain and raise the standard of design in our new buildings and public spaces.

Waltham Forest Design Advice Panel

The Waltham Forest Design Advice Panel provides expert, independent design advice for development proposals. We created the panel with Design Council Cabe to boost quality of life and encourage prosperity and environmental sustainability in our borough.

Each panel review highlights the strengths and weaknesses of a design, and how it can be improved. Design reviews are subject to the following charges:

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

Email the design and conservation team: urbandesign@walthamforest.gov.uk or read Waltham Forest Design Advice Panel Guide (PDF) to find out more.

Waltham Forest Design Charter for Schools

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

It sets out our commitment to achieving high quality design in our schools, with 10 key principles that can be applied to all schools. 

Waltham Forest Design Charter for Schools (PDF)

Waltham Forest Design Charter for Homes

The Waltham Forest Design Charter sets out how we will achieve high quality design in all new housing developments. We developed it to support the high levels of local housing growth expected 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. These should link with adjacent streets and paths to create direct and convenient routes to local services like shops, schools, and public transport.
  3. A mix of homes - Work with developers and partners to provide a mix of housing types and sizes accessible to all. These should meet the needs of residents both now and in 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 with windows and doors facing onto streets and public space, 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 early on so it is safe, convenient, and attractive. It should never be an afterthought.
  9. People-friendly streets - Ensure high standards in design and quality of streets and other public areas. This will 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.

Waltham Forest Design Charter for Homes (PDF)

Our design guidance and SPDs

Design and Conservation Team