On 30 January 2021 the Government announced a range of measures to prioritise good design in placemaking. This includes the establishment of an Office for Place within the next year, which will support local communities to turn their designs into the standard for all new buildings in their area. A consultation on draft revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework to place a greater emphasis on design and sustainability, and a new draft National Model Design Code to guide local authorities in the production of local design guides, codes and policies, was also launched. Over the weeks ahead, Design Council will be convening a panel of placemaking experts to feed into this consultation, which will close on 27 March.

Sue Morgan, Acting Joint CEO at Design Council said:

“Design Council welcomes the Government’s commitment to drive up the importance of design and the environment of all new developments, while placing local communities at the heart of decision-making. This is critical if we are to create homes and neighbourhoods that work for everyone.

“I am heartened by the establishment of an Office for Place: Design Council has previously supported the call for such an initiative. This should build capacity for and access to expertise in design and placemaking across the country, as well as see local people’s wants and needs valued far more within local and central Government. I look forward to working collaboratively with the Office for Place in partnership with other organisations providing strategic design support services across the country, sharing our expertise and drawing on our network of 450 Design Council placemaking experts.

“I am equally encouraged by the publication of the draft National Model Design Code. Of course, along with change comes challenge, particularly around capacity of local authorities to better understand, adopt and publish unique design codes. The piloting of the National Model Design Code across local authorities – with the first ten councils signing up receiving a share of £500,000 – is therefore welcome news. This will provide an important opportunity for testing and learning to ensure successful long-term outcomes from the Design Code, and for showing where organisations like Design Council – with such in-depth knowledge and experience in this area – can provide support.”

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