Mole Valley is a diverse borough in Surrey and pressure of growth is driving the regeneration of Leatherhead town centre, increasing the volume development in the landscape and requiring the careful management of design quality of new developments in the historic town of Dorking.
The District Council appointed Design South East to help the development management team to assess the quality of applications across the borough through regular design surgeries.
Design surgeries are an effective way of strengthening internal capacity, enabling efficient and effective development management and supporting officers’ confidence and understanding of good design. Mole Valley surgeries generally last four hours, during which five or six schemes are reviewed and written notes are provided.
The programme of surgeries was preceded by a training event for officers to explore the meaning of good design and the relationship between design and planning, focussing in particular on design considerations within the context of Dorking town centre’s Conservation Area.