Sherford - More True Urbanism in the UK


Sherford is a new market town to be built near Plymouth in Devon, England on principles of true urbanism. The traditional Wiltshire market town of Marlborough inspires the design, with its Georgian-style shop/houses lining the high street. Plans paint a picture of a lively community where all trips can be made on foot. On May 22, 2013 the government announced a £32m loan to kick-start construction. 

Sherford is planned to be ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable. It is designed to make it possible for most people to live within walking distance of work, school and shops. Great attention is being paid to developing community and facilitating healthy living. Planners have acknowledged that strong social networks facilitate community health, and are also cognizant of the need to plan in such a way as to reduce social inequality.

Streets and the main market place will be hospitable for pedestrians, and supportive of social interaction. Small shops and businesses that provide informal community services (social networking functions, part-time jobs) and that fulfill less profitable community needs will be protected. Varying rents and leases will encourage local traders and attract a dynamic mix of shops and offices. Services will include a public library, a youth center, a health center, a children’s center and a place of worship. There will be four schools - three primaries and one secondary. Each school will be located within the neighborhood they serve, and will offer a range of public facilities, for meetings, clubs, performing arts, adult education and sport.

It is also planned to ensure that fresh, healthy, affordable local food is available in all parts of the town and to discourage fast food. Community gardens, school gardens, and a farmer’s market will be included.

Sherford is planned to house 12,000 people in 5,500 new and affordable homes, to provide 5,000 jobs, and to contain all the shops and services needed by a community of this size. To ensure the town is socially inclusive, homes will be very varied in size, type and design. A significant proportion will be affordable, including social rented and shared ownership (as in Poundbury) and will be evenly distributed throughout the town.

A Health Impact Assessment was prepared by Ben Cave Associates. 

The planning application for Sherford was awarded 'exemplar' status, with an overall score of 85%, by the Building Research Establishment.