Described by former CABE chair Paul Finch as the "nearest thing to a National Architecture Policy we are going to get," the Government has published new guidance for achieving high quality, well-designed buildings and places across England.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has said the new guidance will introduce a national standard for English local authorities with the option to allow them to design their own guides reflecting local needs.
It provides a set of 10 characteristics and examples of well-designed places to assist in considering applications to deliver beautiful, enduring and successful places. The guidance provides helpful definitions, good practice examples and future points to consider.
A copy of The National Design Guide can be found here.
Subject to consultation and the findings of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission final report, a National Model Design Code setting out detailed standards for key elements of effective design is due to be published next year.
It is hoped that the publication of this guidance will assist local authorities in determining planning applications, providing further certainty and clarity of the planning process.
Whilst it should assist planning officers to resist poorly designed proposals, it remains to be seen if this latest effort to facilitate the efficacy and certainty of the planning process will help or hinder already stretched local planning authorities when poorly designed schemes are still able to glide through the applicant-friendly validation process.