New Design Guide

News - 03/10/2019

New National Design Guide Launched

Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) unveiled the guide at the Conservative Party Conference.

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Housing is always a hot topic during Party Conference Season and this year (2019) did not disappoint.

National Design Guide

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, launched a National Design Guide (NDG) setting out 10 characteristics of well-designed places in a bid to demonstrate what good design means in practice. Specifically:

1. Context

  • Understand and relate well to the site, its local and wider context
  • Value heritage, local history and culture

2. Identity

  • Respond to existing local character and identity
  • Well-designed, high quality and attractive
  • Create character and identity

3. Built form

  • Compact form of development
  • Appropriate building types and forms
  • Destinations

4. Movement

  • An integrated network of routes for all modes of transport
  • A clear structure and hierarchy of connected streets
  • Well-considered parking, servicing and utilities infrastructure for all users

5. Nature

  • Provide high quality, green open spaces with a variety of landscapes and activities, including play
  • Improve and enhance water management
  • Support rich and varied biodiversity
6. Public spaces
  • Create well-located, high quality and attractive public spaces
  • Provide well-designed spaces that are safe
  • Make sure public spaces support social interaction

7. Uses

  • A mix of uses
  • A mix of home tenures, types and sizes
  • Socially inclusive

8. Homes & buildings

  • Healthy, comfortable and safe internal and external environment
  • Well-related to external amenity and public spaces
  • Attention to detail: storage, waste, servicing and utilities

9. Resources

  • Follow the energy hierarchy
  • Selection of materials and construction techniques
  • Maximise resilience

10. Lifespan

  • Well-managed and maintained
  • Adaptable to changing needs and evolving technologies
  • A sense of ownership

Based on Chapter 12 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the New Design Guide “will have real clout” and replace "unenforceable design ideas" with a new "national standard" for local authorities, who “will be expected to design their own locally applicable guides which must deliver the quality of homes that we expect”.

The structure of the Guide is similar to Building for Life 12. Guidance on each of the ten characteristics of a “well designed place” is supported by good practice examples and an aide memoire checklist. Importantly, in a departure from the NPPF’s minimalist approach to supplementary guidance, it contains a plethora of references including an old urban design favourite, the Urban Design Compendium published in August 2000. The Guide is to be followed by a `National Design Code’, possibly to be released in the New Year.

Commenting Colin Pullan, Urban Design Director at LSH, said:

“It’s an improvement on the original, much-loved 2000 publication ‘By Design, Urban Design in the Planning System: towards better practice’. We just need to wait for the National Design Code.”

Future Homes Standard

The Government also unveiled the Future Homes Standard; a new green standard for new build homes that will “bring an environmental revolution to home building” by cutting carbon emissions while keeping household bills low.

Mary-Jane O'Neill, Head of Planning, Development and Regeneration for LSH across London & South East, commented:

“It’s good to see that the Government is progressing with plans to overhaul and speed up the planning system and we’re looking forward to seeing the further details in the Green Paper when this is published in November.”

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