Building Better Building Beautiful Commission
The government convened the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission with the aim of championing beauty in the built environment, as an integral part of the drive to build the homes that our communities need.
The government asked the Commission to develop a range of practical measures that will help ensure new housing developments meet the needs and expectations of communities, making them more likely to be welcomed, rather than resisted The Commission had three primary aims:
- to promote better design and style of homes, villages, towns and high streets, to reflect what communities want, building on the knowledge and tradition of what they know works for their area
- to explore how new settlements can be developed with greater community consent
- to make the planning system work in support of better design and style, not against it
The Commission’s report proposed three overall aims. These were: ask for beauty, refuse ugliness and promote stewardship, and made 45 detailed policy propositions. In the response to the Commission, the Government have accepted their recommendation for a stronger focus on beauty in national planning policy, to ensure the system helps to foster more attractive buildings and places, while also helping to prevent ugliness.
This consultation takes forward the commitment to making beauty and place making a strategic theme in the National Planning Policy Framework. They state clearly that poor quality schemes should be refused and, where appropriate, they have replaced references to ‘good design’ with ‘good design and beautiful places’. Several other aspects of the Framework have been updated to reflect the Commission’s recommendations.
National Model Design Code
The purpose of the National Model Design Code is to provide detailed guidance on the production of design codes, guides and policies to promote successful design. It expands on the ten characteristics of good design set out in the National Design Guide, which reflects the government’s priorities and provides a common overarching framework for design. The National Model Design Code is intended to form part of the government’s planning practice guidance. It is not a statement of national policy. However, once finalised, the government recommends that the advice on how to prepare design codes and guides is followed.
A design code is a set of illustrated design requirements that provide specific, detailed parameters for the physical development of a site or area. The draft National Model Design Code is intended to be used as a toolkit to guide local planning authorities on the design parameters and issues that need to be considered and tailored to their own context when producing design codes and guides, as well as methods to capture and reflect the views of the local community from the outset, and at each stage in the process.
The government believes that design codes are important because they provide a framework for creating healthy, environmentally responsive, sustainable and distinctive places, with a consistent and high-quality standard of design. This can provide greater certainty for communities about the design of development and bring conversations about design to the start of the planning process, rather than the end.
Summary of proposed amendments to the National Planning Policy Framework:
- Implements policy changes in response to the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission recommendations
- Makes a number of changes to strengthen environmental policies – including those arising from our review of flood risk with Defra
- Includes minor changes to clarify policy in order to address legal issues
- Includes changes to remove or amend out of date material
- Includes an update to reflect a recent change made in a Written Ministerial Statement about retaining and explaining statues.
- Clarification on the use of Article 4 directions