Tibbalds and Urban Design Skills complete Bradford design guide

August 20, 2019

Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design and Urban Design Skills have completed a new design guide to help shape future development in and around Bradford, West Yorkshire.

Commissioned by the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Homes and Neighbourhoods: A Guide to Designing in Bradford is now out to consultation, with the intention that it is adopted in winter 2019 as a supplementary planning document to support the Council’s Core Strategy, providing more detail on how to interpret and assess what the strategy means for new homes.

The guide is intended for developers, housebuilders, self-builders, local communities, politicians, planners, architects, designers and other built environment professionals. It explains the Council’s aspirations for housing design, supporting local plan policies and advancing the government’s wider agenda for high-quality, health-enhancing and inclusive design principles in new housing developments.

The guide will help to address the climate emergency and ensures sustainable development and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

It prioritises walking, cycling and public transport over the car, and requires that developments are greener with more trees, landscape and natural drainage features. It also requires developers to install electric vehicle charging points and outlines how new homes can be designed to be more energy efficient.

Julian Jackson, Assistant Director of Planning, Transportation and Highways at the City of Bradford MDC said: “This guide aims to ensure that new housing will create healthy and well-connected communities in Bradford. It is designed to ensure that everyone involved in delivering housing will benefit too. The Council wants to encourage the best housebuilders and developers to see the district as a place where they can make a reputation for creating homes and neighbourhoods that people really like living in, with a good range of green spaces, and that stand the test of time.”

Rob Cowan, Director of Urban Design Skills, said: “This document breaks new ground for design guides. First, it recognises that the aim should be not just to build large numbers of homes, but to create successful neighbourhoods. Second, the guide is based not on preaching about good design, but on ensuring that the planning process in Bradford District enables the Council, developers and housebuilders to collaborate in raising standards.”

Sarah Jenkinson, Associate at Tibbalds, said: “This design guide sets out eight priorities for homes and neighbourhoods in the Bradford district, weaving in the themes of health, inclusivity, blue & green infrastructure, innovation and efficiency. These priorities and their associated design principles are key issues that were identified both in our brief and through consultation with a wide range of stakeholders.

“The guide has been developed using a process-driven approach, which is important from a design point of view and a unique feature of this project: we stress the need to create a robust brief first, then plan a successful neighbourhood, before considering the design of individual homes.

“Engagement was a very important part of the process. The relationships built up during our work mean that the guide is based on specific local aspirations, issues and concerns, as well as promoting good practice, humanising design, and making the content as easy to navigate as possible.”

The work included considerable public engagement from stakeholders, including:

  • Born in Bradford: one of the world’s largest research studies, which is tracking the lives of over 30,000 Bradfordians to find out what influences the health and wellbeing of families.
  • Older and Disabled People Group: a network of established groups across the city representing a range of interests. They include those with mobility problems, older people, visually impaired people, dementia sufferers and people with learning difficulties.
  • Bradford Civic Society: a society that champions Bradford’s heritage and built environment, and encourages higher standards of design and architecture in new development.
  • Bradford Property Forum: a network of local property professionals, including architects, planners, developers and surveyors.
  • Housebuilders and housing associations, the main developers of housing in the city.
  • All relevant departments within the Council, covering public health, architecture, housing, accessibility, drainage, engineering, planning, and urban design, among other matters.


Bradford District has a population of over half a million, and with over 124,000 people under the age of 16 it is the youngest city in the country. It is also a fast-growing city, with an increasing number of older people.