New NPPF design focus welcome

Policy Exchange welcomes the updated National Planning Policy Framework’s focus on design announced by Secretary of State James Brokenshire today (24th July), as recommended in our recent report, Building More, Building Beautiful. The UK needs more homes but there is often strong local resistance to development – building attractive homes is key to overcoming Nimbyism. Policy Exchange polling found that most people prefer traditional design like Georgian and Victorian terraces, Edwardian mansion blocks.

Policy Exchange’s Place and Prosperity Research Fellow Jack Airey, who co-authored the report, said:

“We welcome the inclusion of an expanded design section in today’s new NPPF – especially as this has been significantly enhanced since the draft was published in March. The government has rightly said that good design is now fundamental to the planning process, that it helps overcome NIMBYism, and has given more power to planning authorities to reject applications which don’t meet these criteria.


“In particular, we welcome the Secretary of State’s explicit statement that quantity must not compromise quality, and the emphasis on new developments fitting in with their environment – as we advocated in our recent report Building More, Building Beautiful. Our polling found that communities are more likely to support development if they like the look of it, showing that planners, architects and developers need to prioritise design and style more.


“Both the Prime Minister and Housing Secretary endorsed Policy Exchange’s research and we are pleased that they have begun to implement our recommendations. But more work remains to be done.


“As the Government seeks to build 300,000 homes a year, many in the London area, we must make sure that development gives due regard to style as well as design, and that government departments and local planning authorities engage local communities meaningfully in shaping the future of their environment. Otherwise we will be living with the mistakes for decades to come. The key test is whether the design and style of new developments begin to reflect what is popular. Today’s announcement is a significant early step in the right direction.”

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