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Urban Design Compendium

Case Study 068 - Creating a Home Zone

068 - Gun Wharf, Plymouth

The provision of a Home Zone has been a key feature of the transformation of Gun Wharf from a derelict 1950s estate to award-winning development with a mix of housing types and tenures.

Streets and squares were designed with the intention of giving pedestrians equal priority to vehicles as part of the Home Zone model. Traffic calming has been provided horizontally so there are no unsightly bumps. As a result vehicles are limited to 12mph, which creates a safe environment around the accommodation. The scheme has delivered an effective shared space which is valued by the residents.

The idea for a Home Zone was supported by residents from the outset. During redevelopment of the estate the residents were temporarily housed in Morice Town. This had a retrofit Home Zone which had been successful in halving average traffic speeds and reducing traffic by 40%, but more importantly it also increased play and community activity and improved residents’ quality of life. The Gun Wharf residents therefore insisted that a proper Home Zone was provided rather than the proposed ‘Home Zone type development’. This was because they were able to understand the benefits the shared space provided. The council agreed to this approach as it fitted their aspirations in terms of high-quality build and improving quality of life. The council worked with the developer and community to overcome issues such as inability to build above the tunnels which run below the site and are planning to adopt the street.

Adrian Trim, Team Manager Sustainable Transport, Plymouth City Council agrees that the Home Zone delivers more than can be achieved through traditional street calming ‘It’s a feeling not something you can engineer. The feeling of not being threatened by traffic when you walk down the middle of the street. You can’t achieve that with a 20mph zone.’

Other Information

  • Location: Plymouth
  • Project Team: Key partners: Devonport Regeneration Community Partnership,Plymouth City Council, South West Regional DevelopmentAgency Developer: Devon and Cornwall Housing Association with MidasHomes. Architect: Lacey Hickie Caley
  • Contact:


UDC2 Section - From Vision to Reality 

The aspiration of residents and the local authority to design a Home Zone which delivers shared community space has led to the transformation of Gun Wharf into an award-winning scheme.Images (image bank)