Local Authorities to receive £50,000 for National Model Design Code participation

Back in May, the Housing Minister Christopher Pincher revealed the local authorities which will be testing the application of the Government’s new design code.

A select 14 Local Authorities will be participating in trialling the 6-month testing programme in order to apply the National Model Design Code. This will enable the country to meet the desired aims outlined in the Prime ministers bid to ‘Build Back Better” as a result to fix the problems that have held back many as a result of the Covid 19 global pandemic. One of the overarching benefits being to ensure both current and new residents will benefit from well-designed neighbourhoods and enjoy beautifully built homes.

The chosen 14 applicants for this will be:

The purpose of the National Model Design Code (NMDC) is to provide advice to the local planning authorities on the process for producing codes for design parameters, issues and other consideration when tailoring their local design guides. The guidance for the production of these local design codes and policies is found within the NMDC, where methods of how to capture the views of the local community and ensure these are reflected.

The Local Authorities will each be given £50,000 for the development of these design codes, expecting to enhance the character of local areas though such codes. The Housing Minister expressed:

“We should aspire to enhance the beauty of our local areas and pass our cultural heritage onto our successors, enriched not diminished. 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”.

Over 70 applications were received from Councils wishing to sign up and expressing their interest in the pilot to test the NMDC. The shortlisted 14 represent an ensured geographical spread and range of development types.

This pragmatic way for testing the design codes will provide Local Authorities with the chance to create and shape new development in a way which reflects what their communities really want.

The word ‘beauty’ will be prioritised for the first time in planning since the system was created back in 1947 with the introduction of these codes. Where previously, the emphasis was on whether buildings were ‘attractive to local people’ was more important.

Nicholas Boys Smith, founding director of social enterprise Create Streets and co-chair for the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission, said:

“The pilots are a very important first step as councils start to grapple again with how they can define visions for development in their areas which are popularly-beautiful, profoundly locally based and will support lives which are happy, healthy and sustainable.”

This is a step in the right direction towards ensuring the correct planning and design tools are used for the place-making and shaping of areas, with the addition of residents benefiting form a chance to shape and deliver beautiful places too.