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RIBA responds to Government's Building Beautiful Places plan

We've responded to the Government’s Building Beautiful Places plan, which includes an updated National Planning Policy Framework and new National Model Design Code.

21 July 2021

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has responded to the Government’s Building Beautiful Places plan, which includes an updated National Planning Policy Framework and new National Model Design Code.

RIBA President, Alan Jones said:

“Successful design is critical to the delivery of homes and communities fit for future generations. I therefore welcome measures that place greater emphasis on design quality, sustainability and placemaking. This includes the community-focussed approach of the National Model Design Code, which will see planning and development experts work directly alongside local authorities. I am also pleased to see the Government recognise the need to use the UK’s world-class design expertise to deliver beautiful, green homes and places.

However, I remain seriously concerned that wider planning system reforms – including the extension of Permitted Development Rights – undermine the stated commitment to quality design. Good design is about much so more than the surface appearance. These planning reforms need to level up the quality of new housing developments across England; this means requiring developers and local authorities to think about the long-term sustainability of new homes and communities, as opposed to cramming of the greatest possible number of homes onto a site.

Unless they are prepared to challenge the commercial incentives that govern the housing market, these reforms will do little to address the gap between the quality, safety and sustainability of many of the new homes we build and our country’s commitments under the Climate Change Act. The absence of critical guidance that effectively demonstrates the importance of enlisting knowledgeable professionals such as architects at the earliest, most critical stage of a project also remains a huge omission.

We will continue to work with our membership and policymakers to ensure these landmark reforms to our planning system have people and successful design at their heart.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  1. Press contact: Isabel.Campbell@riba.org or +44 (0) 20 7496 8349
  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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