Accessibility Statement
Skip to main content
Chat icon Chat with us live

Planning and Crime Prevention

22 March 1995



In January 1994 Committee considered a draft government circular about planning and crime prevention and requested that the officers report further with proposed guidelines for developers regarding planning and crime prevention and that the Police be invited to a future meeting when guidelines are being discussed.

It is now widely recognised that there is a link between design and crime and that careful attention to the planning of towns and to the design of estates and individual buildings can help reduce crime.

Government Policy

Policy is set out in Circular 5/94 "Planning Out Crime", which states that planning proposals can help reduce crime, particularly if they are considered as part of a strategic approach incorporating a wide range of measures, including, for example, estate or town centre management and CCTV.  The Circular accepts that crime prevention is a 'material' planning consideration which can legitimately be taken into account in preparing plans and deciding planning applications.

The circular suggests that if areas, such as town centres, are occupied after dark, the presence of people produces informal supervision which reduces vandalism and crime.  A mix of users, including housing and entertainment will ensure that the area does not become a deserted and therefore potentially threatening environment.

The regeneration of large housing estates should incorporate measures such as diversification of tenure, the creation of smaller community areas, the provision of facilities for the young and proposals to create a more attractive environment, since it has been shown that packages of such measures are successful in reducing crime.

Detailed design measures can help reduce vandalism and crime. Attractive, well cared for environments are less prone to vandalism, but in some cases it is recognised that the need for crime prevention measures will have to be balanced against visual amenity.  Thus with landscaping it is important to avoid planting which can screen wrong doers close to footpaths, but the use of spiky bushes can help deter crime.  Footpaths should be straight, wide, well lit and well supervised by passers by and overlooking residents.  Car parks should be well lit and supervised where possible.  Shutters on shops may be necessary but should be attractively designed, for example with open grilles, to avoid 'dead' shopping frontages and graffiti.

Liaison between the developer, the planning authority and the police can ensure that new developments have crime prevention measures built into their design.

Tameside Policy and Practice

The Unitary Development Plan was prepared before the Circular "Planning Out Crime" and, therefore, explicit references to crime and planning are limited to amended policy H22 which states that residential estates should be designed to reduce crime by means such as natural surveillance and design of pedestrian routes.

Development Control Guidance notes on residential and industrial development also make specific references to design measures, which can reduce crime and vandalism. The Police Architectural Liaison Officer is consulted about major schemes and has been involved, for example, in the design of the MAB shopping development in Ashton.  Liaison also takes place on the design of major Council capital schemes such as new schools, the Magistrates Court and estate action refurbishments.

The Council's Public Protection Forum includes in its terms of reference the development of a crime prevention strategy for Tameside and the encouragement of action to reduce crime.

Suggested Guidelines

It is suggested that the following guidelines be adopted to supplement the policies within the Unitary Development Plan and that they be used in the preparation of development briefs and in the control of development.

a) General

  • Crime prevention should be taken into account in the planning of all developments.
  • The Police Architectural Liaison Officer should be consulted about major development proposals.

b) Town Centres

  • A mix of uses - shop, food and drink and entertainment, and residential should be encouraged within centres to ensure the presence of people throughout day and night, whilst avoiding undue concentrations of uses such as pubs, which could give rise to public order problems.
  • Security shutters, where necessary, should be of an open grille design, integrated into the design of the shopfront and should be painted to match. Special consideration should be given within Conservation Areas.  They are not appropriate on Listed Buildings.

c) Housing Estates

  • Larger estates should make provision for open spaces where children can play in safety but without disturbing residents.
  • All public spaces - roads, footpaths and open spaces and play areas should be well lit and overlooked by dwellings. Footpaths to the rear of properties should be avoided where possible.
  • Private spaces, such as rear gardens, should be clearly demarcated by high walls or fences.
  • Landscaping should avoid creating hiding places close to footpaths and spiky bushes could be used to deter unwanted visitors.

d) Commercial Development

  • Comments on landscaping as above.
  • Security considerations should be integrated into the design process and consideration should be given to building design and security lighting as well as security fencing.

Fences should be attractive and robust and chain link fences, concrete post and panel fences should be avoided in prominent locations.

Secured By Design Initiative

An approach has recently been received from the Architectural Liaison Officer about the possible accreditation of the Council as a "Designing-out Crime" office under the "Secured by Design" initiative.  This will initially involve a multi-disciplinary member and officer seminar and presentation on designing out crime.  Whilst this is primarily offered to influence the details of the Council's own schemes, it is clearly of relevance to all other projects which pass through the planning process and fits in well with the Committee's wishes regarding guidelines.