Urban Living


With a well-documented housing crisis and a national planning policy framework that directs residential development to previously used land ahead of greenfield sites, local authorities are coming under increased pressure to deliver more homes. When combined with a need to re-position and reinvent our towns and city centres and create vibrant and sustainable communities, this means a significant increase in urban residential development.

In recent years, we have seen our towns and cities begin to evolve; with out-of-town shopping centres driving footfall away from centres and the more recent emergence of online retail and patterns of flexible working, there has been a marked shift away from traditional commercially dominated zones to far more of a mixed-use offer. We collaborate with strong design teams in our work around urban living to deliver an urban environment where people want to live, in well-designed housing within a vibrant and usable public realm. Taking advantage of connections to places of work, leisure activities and local services, many of our towns and cities are seeing growth in a variety of new residential forms and typologies, from purpose-built student accommodation to modern private residential models through to emerging concepts such as co-living.  

DPP Planning has an excellent track record in delivering complex and multi-faceted urban living developments across the UK. Our commercial knowledge combined with our local knowledge and drive to succeed is why we chosen to deliver challenging projects. 


DPP has extensive experience of delivering a range of urban living schemes. Many of our projects are informed by our knowledge and experience of emerging household typologies, population projections, trends and lifestyle preferences and demand to ensure that the housing mix responds to need and the end product is commercially viable. In several towns and cities, the requirements are for modern accommodation to attract postgraduates and young professionals such as Build-to-Rent and Co-living opportunities (defined by Experian MOSAIC household typologies as ‘Central Pulse’ and ‘Career Builders’), young families (‘New Foundations’) and, increasingly, older people (‘Ageing Access’).  

Residential development in urban locations face very different challenges to the more traditional edge of centre, greenfield housing schemes. Town and city centre developments, by their nature and urban location, tend to be higher density and often take the form of tall buildings where visual impact, scale, heritage and townscape considerations have increased significance.  

Challenges around ensuring residential amenity are more common in discussions with Local Planning Authorities and key stakeholders as well as balancing the provision of car parking, servicing of sites and shared public realm with quality placemaking. Sustainability and discussions around demolition/re-use of existing buildings and emerging requirements to assess whole-life carbon emissions are becoming significant matters in the planning balance. 

Other key considerations can include the ability to introduce flexible space for ground floor local services (examples include residents’ office space and coffee shops, small local food stores), wider infrastructure requirements, contaminated land and existing use values. This regularly leads to in depth negotiations around viability, affordable housing provision and leveraging external funding to meet funding gaps. 

Quayside West, Newcastle upon Tyne

Client Name: Newcastle 123 Ltd
Local Authority: Newcastle City Council
Project Value: £250 Million

This major mixed-use redevelopment sits on a long-vacant and complex gateway site, extending to 7.9ha on Newcastle’s Quayside. Residential-led, it comprises up 1,500 homes but also includes opportunities for a hotel, office, leisure and retail uses and significant improvement to the public realm.

Being in a highly prominent location, on a large scale, with noise and contamination constraints, as well as the impact on townscape and heritage assets, the team had to prepare an EIA, along with technical input from other consultants.

The application was submitted in August 2018 and DPP continue to work closely with the project team, client and Council to reach a positive decision.

We have been very impressed with the knowledge, work ethic and commitment DPP has brought to our scheme for Quayside West. Their professionalism and project-management of multiple disciplines throughout this complex and demanding project have been exemplary.

Nick Moody – Founding Partner, Newby

Image: FaulknerBrown Architects


Client Name: Cityregen Ltd and Galliford Try Investments Ltd,
Local Authority:
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Queens Buildings, Southampton

Client Name: Southampton Estates
Local Authority: Southampton City Council
Project Value: £??

DPP were appointed by Southampton Estates after they had received initially negative advice from the local planning authority about the prospects for the site. DPP had recently secured consent on a neighbouring site for the tallest hotel in the city, overcoming significant initial design and political opposition. 

The redevelopment of the vacant Debenhams site comprises 614 residential build-to-rent units as well as ground floor commercial uses. The scheme extended to 17 storeys, making it amongst the highest in the city whilst being located adjacent to Grade II* Listed parks. 

DPP developed a planning strategy for the site and re-positioned the pre-application submission based on a design team which could address the concerns which had been raised. Utilising our relationship with senior planning, transport and design officers we were able to adjust the scheme to address concerns whilst balancing the viability of the proposals.


DPP have worked closely with the design team and officers at the LPA to reach planning approval. Initial concerns about the scale of development and public realm were addressed by DPP working closely with the project architect and senior officers. Crucially, DPP balanced these concerns with the viability of the proposals.


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