Suffolk Design: Streets Guide

Our consultation is for a new Streets Guide, which will assist designing streets for new residential developments especially by promoting walking and cycling.

You are invited to comment on the Suffolk Design: Streets Guide by completing the survey.

The consultation will run from 16 December 2020 until 5pm 10 February 2021.

What we are consulting on

This emerging guidance will assist with the design of new residential developments showing how best to create sustainable transport layouts that promote walking and cycling

The District, Borough and County Councils of Suffolk have been working to improve the design new development through the Suffolk Design initiative. As part of this programme, the County Council commissioned Stantec to produce a new Street Guide to update guidance for residential streets.

Attached is a draft of the emerging Street Design Guide and you are invited to shape the final version of the document.

Download the consultation document:

Suffolk Design: Streets Guide (PDF, 5MB).

Next Steps

Following an eight week public consultation on Suffolk Design: Streets Guide, a report of the consultation will be published when the Streets Guide is presented to Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet.

Will the document have any special status such as a Supplementary Planning Document?

The streets guide will be used by Suffolk County councils highway engineers, drainage engineers and Public Rights of Way officers in responding to planning applications. Details, policies and specifications change regularly and, to keep the document update to date, it is less restrictive than adopting it as formal Supplementary Guidance.

It is also intended to be used as a guidance tool by Local Authority planners, developers and other interested parties to allow greater understanding of highway, pedestrian and cycle design expectations. The document is not intended to be adopted by the District and Borough Councils but it has been produced with extensive input from those authorities and it is therefore expected that it will be jointly endorsed once produced in its final form.

Why does Suffolk need its own guidance?

Various national policies and standards, such as the national design guide and manual for streets, provide broad guidance and can be used. Suffolk is also seeking to demonstrate the importance the County, its Districts and Borough place in good street design and highly inclusive movement for all through the production of this document.

Local context is also important and there tends to be more than one source of standards and guidance. Hopefully, the guide with assist small businesses, local authorities and the public with the design process and what is best practise. The production of this type of guide is commonplace. Essex, for example, has detailed guidance on various design aspects.

Why doesn’t the document say more about parking?

Separate parking guidance have already been produced and parking is only one aspect of how streets need to be designed. The guide focused more on the process of designing for movement rather than parking (including cycles) and including more details would make the document much longer and more complicated.

The Government is calling for more tree-lined avenues, why doesn’t the Guide set this out?

The Streets Guide does include a lot of detail on how trees can be designed into streets. Trees need space and are included within the whole design process. Local Planning Authorities determine whether landscaping proposals, such as tree planting, are sufficient and the Highway Authority considers whether such proposals are safe and can be maintained.

The Streets Guide sets out how trees can be designed into proposals rather than what specifically will be required in all cases.

Will there be more electric charging points?

In the future, streets are likely to have more charging points for cars, bikes and motorcycles. However, at the moment, the precise details are unknown. Suffolk County Council is part of an innovative project to see whether lamp columns can incorporate charging points, click here for more information.

This approach could reduce the amount of street clutter, as significant benefit in historical areas and also avoid pedestrian conflicts with purpose built charging stations. Design knowledge is also evolving on how to accommodate electric vehicle charging within communal parking areas and to understand the specific energy needs of developments providing full electric vehicle charging access, the guidance does not prejudice good quality and extensive electric vehicle charging being pursued at the planning stage.

Find information about electric vehicle (EV) charging, including public charging networks, costs and funding and the Plug in Suffolk project.

Can the Streets Guide be applied to existing areas?

The Streets Guide is intended to be used for new developments but the approaches and specifications included in the guide can be applied to existing streets in some situations.  Neighbourhood and local plans could be informed by consideration of existing users and movement corridors within a parish or part of a large town.  The specifications could be used to then identify measures where existing streets and public rights of way might be altered to improve the ability for people to walk or cycle. 

However, the options to deliver to meet the specifications and national (e.g. Local Transport Notes) standards might well be constrained by physical features or the availability of resources.

Are the survey questions available in a document to read first before submitting responses in the online survey?

The consultation questions can be downloaded here (DOC, 43KB).

If you have any questions you can contact us: