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Urban Design & Planning

Cobalt Design are Chartered Town Planners and Urban Designers. We can work with you to create and regenerate an area to provide an attractive environment which meets the needs of those who use it. To create successful places, buildings, spaces and activities must be in harmony. We aim to provide a high quality and sustainable framework for built and landscape design which is based on sound social, economic and physical policies to create an enriched environment in which people thrive.

To create such spaces, it is key to understand the needs of the public. We are experienced in public consultation and finding the correct balance for all those involved..

We offer a range of services including:


Design and Access Statements

A Design and Access Statement is required to be submitted for the majority of applications. Householder applications are only required to submit a statement if the dwelling falls within a Site of Special ScientificInterest, Conservation Area or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

A design and access statement is a written and illustrated report, needs to accompany the planning application. The statement should demonstrate how the site has been analysed the site and how the design has been formulated, based on sound design principles to achieve good, inclusive design for buildings and public spaces. It should also show what consultation has been undertaken.

The level of detail and extent of a statement are determined by the nature of the development, the site and its context.


Design Briefs

Design Briefs can be an excellent aid to ensuring that a suitable and appropriate form of development is implemented within a designated site.  To do this, it must be well researched and presented to a level which is appropriate to the site in question.

The majority of Local Planning Authorities use Design Briefs, particularly on complex sites and these are often adopted as Supplementary Planning Documents and used as material considerations in assessing future proposals.  

There are no strict guidelines when undertaking a Design Brief and therefore Cobalt Design can advise our clients on the most appropriate form of brief required.

In addition to the site’s context, history and background an example brief may include:

  • site constraints and opportunities;
  • policy framework;
  • potential uses;
  • design,materials, scale and massing of buildings;
  • sustainability;
  • traffic movement; and
  • management.



A sustainable environment is our aim, to create a well balanced place that people desire to live, work and enjoy, which has it'sown character, is affordable and meets all of their needs without being at the expense of environmental factors.

We use iterative design processes that test and refine our propositions – using both qualitative and quantitative toolkits and indicators to inform our masterplan proposals.

Whatever the size of proposal,, we can develop a masterplan, which will provide a balanced focus and clear principles to determine how the area should develop over time. Whether we are guided by an existing framework or creating our own we will provide you with a vision and guidance that will explain how the aims can be achieved.



Design Framework

A Design Framework sets out wide ranging design principles and generic land-use planning and transportation issues for the redevelopment of an area;. It provides a basis for more detailed documents such as a brief or management plan for smaller sub-areas as identified within the framework.

The framework is based on the design concepts as set out in the Development Plan and is used by all parties involved in the development or regeneration process to ensure that any site falling within the scope of the Framework is developed within these guidelines, to ensure a high quality, sustainable environment which meets the aims and strategic aspirations of decision makers and the community alike.



Neighbourhood Plans

A neighbourhood plan is a document which identifies the character, opportunities, constraints and future needs of a defined small area. By determining such factors, a community can protect the qualities making it unique, whilst creating a vision of future requirements which does not compromise this.

The plan provides a practical basis which will result in an improved neighbourhood by setting out clear goals to achieve that vision, and an action plan to ensure progress can be assessed.

The intention is for a community to bring it's skills together and decide how their area should develop in the future. Deciding on where employment, housing, leisure or retail provision is most suitable, and which areas need to be protected.

Cobalt Design can assist with assessing a neighbourhood and helping to formulate a plan which can be used as a material consideration in the development process.



Design Guidance

These are often produced in the form of Supplementary Planning Documents with the aim of improving standards of design which are appropriate to the area in question and to assist applicants by clearly setting out the basic design principles that a Local Planning Authority expects.

Design guidance can cover a spectrum of issue or be targeted specifically. At Cobalt Design, we have produced a wide range of guidance, such as Residential Design Guides, Industrial Design Guides and Renewable Energy Design Guidance. Guides can also be focused upon smaller topics, such as extensions to buildings, shop fronts, conservation areas, access to building or parks and playgrounds.

We can undertake guides on behalf of Local Authorities ensuring that policies and aspirations are delivered effecitvely and concisely to the intended audience.













Design for an urban courtyard development




Masterplan for a large urban extension







Pages from a Design and Access statement for an apartment building




A design framework setting out the future vision for a science park