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Design Guide

How can I get involved?

Our design guide for commercial frontages in Newport and Ryde is now available and we’d strongly encourage anyone with an interest in High Street property to take a look. Whether you are a property owner, run a shop or provide professional design/planning services the guide will help take you through the process of assessing and improving your commercial frontage.

You can view the online version at or download it in PDF format – just click here.

What is the design guide project?

To help improve the standards of shopfront design and maintenance of building frontages in the town centres of Ryde and Newport we commissioned the production of a new guidance document. This shows the benefits of retaining, restoring or reinstating lost historic architectural features or achieving a high standard of shopfront design, to give building and business owners confidence in the value of investing in such work and support decision makers in requiring a high standard of works. It gives practical examples and sets out required standards for high quality frontages across the two towns. It draws on the local distinctiveness of each town centre and addresses how historic buildings can respond to current issues.

The guide forms a key part of our shopfront improvement initiatives in both Ryde and Newport, setting a standard for what will be acceptable for grant-supported improvements. It was adopted as a supplementary planning document (SPD) in November 2022 and will ensure changes to frontages in the future mean the design and conservation standards our heritage town centres deserve.

Why create a design guide?

Over the years some of the changes in our town centres have had a damaging effect on the streetscape and the integrity of many of our heritage buildings. Traditional shopfronts designed to be an integral part of the design of a whole building have often been removed or covered over with modern materials unsympathetic to their surroundings. Design principles have often been sacrificed for corporate standardisation, with a reduced sense of local distinctiveness. Of course there are many examples of traditional shopfronts that have been maintained and modern shopfronts that are sympathetic to the street front. The aim of the design guide is to ensure that becomes the standard. It will help inform planning decisions and will also be an integral part of delivering grant-funded shopfront improvements in both Newport and Ryde.

Where will the design guide apply?

The guide has been developed around the town centre conservation areas of Ryde and Newport.

Project Locations