What is a Village Design Statement?

Village Design Statements (VDS's) are published to provide guidance for development and changes to buildings in a village and, in association with the parish council and district council, to influence the way the planning system works locally. They provide a means of ensuring that any new developments are designed and located in a way that reflects both the local characteristics and the qualities that local residents value in their village and its surroundings. Currently, residents and the parish council may only hear about proposals for development when the design is finished. This means that they often do not have the opportunity to offer any positive input on planning applications, particularly on the design details, or "how it will look". A VDS helps to overcome this problem and will ensure that future development is compatible with local historical and architectural features.

The villages as they are today are described in the VDS and the architectural or landscape qualities most valued by residents are highlighted. Villagers, in their preparation of the written guidance notes, have addressed the character of the buildings, the open areas and the landscape settings. The text and photographs seek to identify this character. Residents, property owners, builders, architects, planners, and others involved in the inevitable and necessary process of change should find this helpful when formulating building designs that will ensure the retention of a distinctive local architectural character. It is acknowledged that residents are merely the current stewards of Micheldever Parishes wonderful architectural heritage and that they have a responsibility, collectively and individually, to conserve, protect and develop appropriately.

If the detailed Guidance Notes that accompany the text are incorporated into design proposals they should assist applicants to obtain planning permission, both for new housing and for alterations and improvements to existing houses. The VDS is also intended to encompass building and landscape issues that might otherwise fall outside the criteria for residents to seek formal planning permission. In these cases, property owners are asked to ensure the special character of the village in which the house is located is given due recognition by following the relevant Guidance Notes in any subsequent building or landscape work.

Whenever owners alter, improve or develop properties it is important that the characteristics, which have helped to create the vernacular architecture of the parish, are retained. The VDS seeks to encourage design that will reflect the best of the building traditions, form, proportions, materials and details, which are present in the villages. It is particularly important to note that:

The long-term aim of the VDS is for it to become a practical tool, capable of influencing decisions affecting future building design and development in all the villages and hamlets. It will assist Micheldever Parish Council and Winchester City Council when they are considering planning applications. Following its adoption as Supplementary Planning Guidance, Winchester City Council will know what is acceptable to the local community, both in architectural and landscape terms.

On 17th April 2002 Winchester City Council confirmed its adoption of this Village Design Statement as Supplementary Planning Guidance under the Winchester District Local Plan. This review is designed to update the VDS in light of any changes that have occurred since its adoption in 2002 and to include the results of the survey of parishioners conducted by the Parish Council in view of the "localism agenda."