Guide launched to make public spaces safer for women and girls

A woman with pieces of paper, blueprints and plans on a desk in front of her. She is holding a pen.

We have launched a new guide that aims to make public spaces safer and more inclusive for women and girls in the county.

It encourages developers, applicants, local authorities and other stakeholders to design schemes for new developments that address safety concerns.

The guidance has been produced by the council following engagement with Essex Police and the Essex Planning Officer’s Association.

It follows research by the council’s Safety Advisory Group that shows women and girls in the county feel most unsafe in urban areas that:

  • lack adequate visibility
  • have poor connectivity
  • are not active

This includes streets, parks, public transport stops and public spaces.

The guidance makes sure fears faced by women and girls are factored in urban planning and development.

It will become part of the 45-year-old Essex Design Guide that:

  • pioneers local design
  • creates space for innovation
  • encourages high-quality development.

The Essex Design Guide is published by the council and the Essex Planning Officers' Association.

Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities, Councillor Louise McKinlay said:

“The introduction of this new guidance is ground-breaking for the county. It will mean the fears women face on a daily basis are taken into consideration when planning takes place.

“It will ensure design solutions that help women to feel safe will be the forefront of urban planning in Essex for many years to come.”

View the guide and find out more