The government is proposing changes to the national planning policy framework to place greater emphasis on “beauty and place-making”, and to ensure that all new streets are lined with trees.
It has published, for consultation, a national model design code that outlines the design standards new developments are expected to meet. Local councils will be expected to produce their own local design code, defining the local architectural vernacular. Developers will then have to follow this.
A new bureaucracy called the Office for Place will oversee the implementation of local standards in all new developments.
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: “We should aspire to pass on our heritage to our successors, not depleted but enhanced. In order to do that, we need to bring about a profound and lasting change in the buildings that we build, which is one of the reasons we are placing a greater emphasis on locally popular design, quality and access to nature, through our national planning policies and introducing the national model design codes.
“These will enable local people to set the rules for what developments in their area should look like, ensuring that they reflect and enhance their surroundings and preserve our local character and identity.
“Instead of developers forcing plans on locals, they will need to adapt to proposals from local people, ensuring that current and new residents alike will benefit from beautiful homes in well-designed neighbourhoods.”
Victoria Hills, chief executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute and a member of the government’s design steering group, said: “The RTPI has long called for design to be an integral part of the planning process. A survey in 2020 revealed that 88% of our members wanted greater powers to reject poor design but lacked the resources to do so.
“A further survey showed 61% of planners have the skills, knowledge and experience to focus on design quality but did not have enough capacity.
“I am therefore delighted that the government has listened and pledged to not only strengthen the National planning framework to empower local planning authorities to prioritise design and drive up quality, but has also committed to inject much-needed funding in this area.”