Harestone and Woldingham Character Assessments and Design Guidance (SPD)

Promoting local character through design guidance

We prepared character assessments and design guidance for two areas of special residential character in Surrey, Harestone Valley and Woldingham Village.

Project Deliverables:
The SPDs have been adopted and are successfully used in the day-to-day development management process and appeal situations
Tandridge District Council
Council officers and Local Parish Councils
Surrey, England
Completed and adopted

The key concern for the local parishes was the loss of existing policy, which they regarded as a ‘protective shield’ against development. By working together on identifying the character of the two different areas, we were able to explain the advantage of a character-based approach.

To ensure that the special character of each area continued to be recognised, existing policy needed to be updated to provide a robust basis for assessing applications.

Our work identified:

  • A series of distinctive character areas within each place and the key features and qualities that made a positive contribution; and
  • Following this, a series of design principles and design guidance for future development.

We worked very closely with the local parishes. As part of the process, we organised informal meetings, walkabouts and workshops to help the local communities define what makes their areas special. Based on this character assessment, we developed the identified strengths into a robust framework of design principles that will guide potential developers formulate appropriate proposals. It will provide a basis for local authority planning officers, members and applicants to discuss and assess schemes, as well as help the local parishes inform their recommendations on incoming planning applications.

As a result of this process, the revised policies have the qualities of the existing places at their hearts and are based on what the local residents consider important about their neighbourhoods.

Core Team


Portrait of Katja Stille 2022

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Learn more about Harestone and Woldingham Character Assessments and Design Guidance (SPD) and other projects by contacting one of our team

Call Katja on 0207 089 2121 or email