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RIBA reacts to new government design body

Our response to government plans to place beauty and design at heart of the planning system through the formation of a new design body.

22 September 2020

The RIBA has responded to the government’s plans to place beauty and design at heart of planning system through the formation of a new design body, led by Nicholas Boys Smith.

RIBA President, Alan Jones, said:

“I welcome the government’s focus on design, and chartered architects have a critical role in delivering that. However, there are inconsistencies in the government’s approach that must be urgently addressed.

Just twenty-two days ago, the extension of the Permitted Development policy took effect, allowing the conversion of offices and shops into housing without adequate space or light, and opening the door to the next generation of slum housing. How can this possibly support aims to ‘place beauty and design quality at the heart of all new developments’?

Alongside recruiting a diverse range of architects and built environment professionals to sit on this new design body, the government must tackle the resource gap in local authority planning departments, particularly the shortage of qualified design expertise.

If design codes go beyond aesthetics and drive spatial and sustainability standards, they have the power to do good – but only with the right support for community engagement and professional design expertise.”


Notes to editors:

  1. Press contact: or +44 (0) 20 7307 3811.
  2. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is a global professional membership body that serves its members and society in order to deliver better buildings and places, stronger communities and a sustainable environment. Follow @RIBA on Twitter for regular updates.

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