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ADVICE ISSUED ON 'STANDARDISATION' THREAT TO RURAL VILLAGES

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Country villages and towns that have helped to make the English countryside so distinctive are under threat from st...
Country villages and towns that have helped to make the English countryside so distinctive are under threat from standardisation, according to the Countryside Commission.

The commission has published advice for councils in an effort to prevent the character of local areas from being lost.

The problem has arisen because mass produced building materials can be transported with ease to any part of the country. As a result, houses, workshops and farm buildings which used to reflect regional materials are being constructed similarly throughout the country.

New developments are often uniform and devoid of local character and roads serving the new estates meet universal specifications for signing, site lines, lighting and kerbing, the commission says.

The advice, Design in the countryside, suggests councils and local communities should help to define the special character of their area, assessing the type of design suited to new development in that place.

The commission hopes the document will help to bridge the gap between councils' planning policies and the design of individual buildings, by emphasising the link between landscape assessment on a broad scale and design of buildings in detail.

The commission also floats two other new ideas for consideration: the possibility of village design statements, with a high degree of community involvement; and council led countryside design statements to cover all, or a major part of, district council areas.

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