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Gloucestershire Business News

‘Building Beautiful’ - Government announces new vision - Mark Campbell, Evans Jones

By Mark Campbell, associate director and head of planning at Evans Jones Property and Planning Consultancy 

We're blessed with beautiful places in Gloucestershire - in fact the county has been hailed as one of the most beautiful places in England and the village of Bibury in the Cotswolds as the most beautiful village.

Some counties, however are not so lucky - and even in Gloucestershire, we have our fair share of eyesore buildings - those blots on the landscape that we'd all rather weren't there.

In a landmark accouncement this week, Robert Jenrick, Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government launched a new vision for 'building beautiful places'. A range of measures were launched which will improve communities' infrastructure, champion neighbourhood design and support walking and cycling to boost health and wellbeing.

In an update to the planning framework, the measures mean the word "beauty" will be specifically included in planning rules for the first time since the system was created in 1947 - echoing an era when a greater emphasis was placed on delivering attractive buildings for people that instilled a sense of local pride.

Greater emphasis than ever before will now be placed on quality and design in the planning system. Local communities will be fully involved in how they want new developments to look and feel, with a much greater emphasis on environmental sustainability.

The changes to the National Planning Policy Framework set an expectation that good quality design should be approved, while poor quality should be rejected and includes an environmental commitment to ensure that all streets are lined with trees

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said: "Today I have set out the Government's vision for a planning system that make beautiful, sustainable and life-enhancing design a necessity, rather than a luxury.

"Our revised National Planning Policy Framework will ensure that communities are more meaningfully engaged in how new development happens, that local authorities are given greater confidence in turning down schemes which do not meet locally set standards.

"This is about putting communities - not developers - in the driving seat to ensure good quality design is the norm, and the return to a sense of stewardship - to building greener, enduringly popular homes and places that stand the test of time in every sense."

We welcome these changes to the NPPF as the first step in the Government's plans to update the planning system. The emphasis on good design is welcomed but it remains to be seen how quickly and effectively design codes will be adopted by local authorities. In our opinion, the Government still need to go further to ensure the "build, build, build" mantra is supported and that our national housing crisis is properly addressed.

Mark Campbell is Associate Director and Head of Planning at Evans Jones Property and Planning Consultancy. Evans Jones operates nationwide and has offices in London, Cheltenham and Reading. For more information, visit www.evansjones.co.uk 

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