Village Design Statement

The purpose of a Village Design Statement (VDS) is to manage change, whether the proposed change is the building or alteration of a single dwelling or a more extensive new development. It is not about whether development should take place; that is the job of the Local Plan. It is about how planned development should be carried out so that it is in harmony with its setting and contributes to the conservation, and where possible, the enhancement of the local environment.

The production and adoption of a Village Design Statement are integral parts of the formal planning process, encouraged by both national and local government. Once adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance by the local planning authority the Statement assists the authority in determining planning applications. Importantly, it also gives designers and developers positive guidance on the preparation of proposals which will be more acceptable to the local community.

This Village Design Statement for West Hill has been produced by the Residents’ Association on behalf of the whole village and follows the

guidelines issued by the Countryside Agency. There has been extensive consultation with the whole community.

The consultation process began in October 2004 with a workshop open to all which explained the background, what was being proposed and why, invited people to identify the most important characteristics of the

village, and sought the involvement of as many volunteers as possible. In July 2005, every house received a wide-ranging questionnaire about the village. Of the 840 questionnaires delivered, 530 (63%) were completed.

The results of the questionnaire provided valuable input to this Statement and will also be used in the preparation of a Village Plan.

In October 2005, the first chapters of this Statement (which are known collectively as the Village Character Statement) were delivered to every house in the village and comments invited. A second public workshop followed to present a summary of the results of the questionnaire, to

receive further comments on the Character Statement and to explain the process for producing the Design Principles


The draft Design Principles were delivered to every house in February

2006 and comments invited. The consultation process was completed

with “Tea and Consultation” at which all members of the community were invited to drop in to meet members of the association over a cup of tea, and to discuss and comment on the Design Principles. Further details of the consultation process are given in the Appendix.

This document falls into two broad parts: the first chapters describe the village and the features that make up its special character; the final chapter sets out the Design Principles to be applied to all new

development in the village so that it is in harmony with  the rural setting and helps to conserve and enhance the local environment.

The production of this document has been supported by generous

funding from Awards for All, which is gratefully acknowledged.

The West Hill Village Design Statement was adopted by East Devon District Council as Supplementary Planning Guidance on 14 March 2006. It has been distributed to every house in the village and is available to developers and all who are interested in the village.

Dick Beardsall and Colin Baines - two of the authors of the VDS

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