Cornwall Design Guide

Well it appears a new Cornwall design guide is due for launch in the autumn.  I look forward to it enormously.  I picked up the 1978 one in a secondhand bookshop last year.  Apart from looking a little like the Essex Design Guide of that era, with lots of Design Bulletin 32 road hierarchies amd sub-divisions, the guidance made the classic mistake of only dealing with the site as an isolated feature, with no contextual strategy apart from slopes.  The guide also suggested that the most significant factors contributing to quality of housing was – visual enclosure, the design of buildings (yes really), avoidance of monotony, informality of layout and reduction of vehicular traffic.  I am not sure how these alone go together to make good housing quality, the Building for Life criteria I think being much more thorough in their enquiry. (One illustration even looks very similar to one in the 1963 Buchanan Report ‘Traffic in Towns’ but I may well be wrong).  There is a nice little diagram about walking routes though, that has a kind of Lynch-style quality to it, but it seems a little out of context in the document.

Ancillary Path Use - Cornwall Design Guide 1978

As these guides can have such an influence on design, I hope to see some  directions in the new guide into making our housing more Cornish – i.e. that it maintains the distinctiveness of layout and character of traditional Cornish towns and villages, using the best of modern approaches with a Celtic twist.  I like the Scottish design guides for Argyll and Bute that have separate large  and small scale housing guides (2006)  based in part on the award winning Gigha masterplan and design guide work highlingted in Scottish Planning Advisory Note PAN83 Masterplanning.  Like these guides, I hope the new Cornwall one  manages to pick up some locally distinctive elements including local urban form and apply it to new homes.