We believe it is important to plan the development of the city in a way that works best for the environment and the people. For us to create a sustainable and beautiful city, planning the urban environment is crucial. We will encourage innovation to utilise spaces to the optimum efficiency. We will also work to increase the availability of recreation activities in the locality, as well as ensuring green space is protected and increased.



Planning and the built environment

New development in Southampton will affect future generations, so it is crucial that planners take a long-term approach when considering the development needs of the city. As well as the visual appearance of new development, and the impact this has upon the character of an area, we must also consider the long-term sustainability of a new building. For example, a building which is very cheap to build may end up being expensive to run if it is poorly insulated and energy prices continue to rise.

This manifesto does not preclude the objective and impartial consideration of a planning application by the appropriate committee, but this does set out general principles which we will expect of new development, and which will be expected of any new buildings commissioned or funded by the local authority.

We will:

  • Encourage mixed developments which include buildings with a variety of uses. Allowing residential, light industrial and retail buildings to be built within the same development has many benefits to local communities; for example, food shops may be within walking distance of homes, cutting down on car use.
  • Support all efforts to bring derelict buildings back into use, including the conversion of empty commercial buildings to residential development.
  • Oppose plans for new buildings where existing buildings of the same type have been empty for a substantial period of time, for example, shopping arcades and office space.
  • Promote sustainable design principles for new buildings and redevelopment projects. This includes planning for natural light, thermal insulation, water-saving, and the use of low-impact or recycled materials as far as possible.
  • Expect new developments to include green open-space, where practical, and encourage the inclusion of natural wildlife habitats.
  • Expect new developments to achieve the highest standards of energy efficiency possible at the time of development as well as accessibility to all members of our society.
  • Expect new developments to include provision for secure cycle-parking, and for developers to liaise with the local authority in developing effective travel plans.
  • Oppose new developments which we believe adversely affect the character of the area where they are proposed. We are particularly mindful of the impact of very tall buildings on the surrounding area, and will expect tall buildings to have very high design quality.
  • Oppose new developments which are likely to increase levels of air pollution.
  • Oppose new developments in places known to be liable to flooding.



Open green-spaces

Southampton has a range of attractive green spaces which contribute enormously to the well-being of the population by providing space for recreation and relaxation. The most popular green spaces are the five parks clustered together in the city centre, which are well-used throughout the year, and Southampton Common, which is both a popular recreational location and a major habitat for wildlife.

There are various smaller parks in districts across the city, however some of these have been neglected and are consequently often empty. We recognise that revitalising these local green- spaces could have huge benefits for the local people they serve. We will also look for opportunities to create new green spaces, for example on derelict land, and in places where this is in short supply.

We will:

  • As a minimum, maintain the physical appearance of all green spaces so that they feel and are safe and welcoming.
  • Maintain all footpaths in good order, so that they are safe for all users. Where local associations are already doing this work, and wish to continue, we will support them as appropriate.
  • Allow cycling along designated cycleways across all of the city's parks.
  • Plant new trees, including fruit trees, where appropriate. We will not fell any existing trees unless, in the opinion of a qualified tree surgeon, this is unavoidable for safety reasons, or is necessary for habitat management.
  • Take measures to reduce graffiti that is not art. This may involve the commissioning of artists to paint murals on walls, or in some places the use of anti-graffiti coatings.
  • Improve provision for waste and recycling in parks, by providing clearly labelled bins for different kinds of waste in every park, including dog waste. We will monitor their use and provide collections on an appropriate frequency.
  • Consider restrictions on alcohol consumption in particular locations where it is clear that there are safety and anti-social issues arising.
  • Arrange for regular city-wide forums where local park associations can meet directly with the Cabinet Member for Open Spaces and other appropriate council staff.
  • Only allow alterations to park infrastructure where it is clear that this will enhance the environment, and there is no adverse impact on wildlife.
  • Protect and maintain the city's allotments, and hold regular meetings with the allotment associations. We will also encourage the creation of community gardens.
  • Maintain the existing greenways, and create new ones where possible.
  • There will be a general presumption against development in green space between the city boundaries, and those of neighbouring towns and villages, including Eastleigh, Bursledon and Hamble.

Our policies on streets and pavements, which are relevant to this section, are included in the pages on transport.