National Model Design Code Testing Programme – RTPI response


Responding to May’s announcement by Housing Minister Christopher Pincher of the 14 places that have been appointed to test the application of the government’s new design code,

Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Chief Executive Victoria Hills said:

“The Government’s announcement on the 21st of May the 14 places which will take part in a six-month testing programme for the National Model Design Code is a pragmatic way of identifying problems that may arise in the application of the code and will also hopefully provide some potential solutions.

“The RTPI has no doubt that only a multi-disciplinary approach – involving planners, architects, developers, ecologists, highways authorities and communities – will lead to effective delivery of quality design outcomes. These pilot programmes should help to identify how these relationships will work in practice. We will keep a close eye on the results.

“However, what is already clear is that substantial extra investment into the planning system will be needed if planners are to play their part fully – almost 90% of our members have told us that they want to prioritise ‘beauty’ in their work but lack the policy support and resources to do so.

“As part of our submission to the 2020 Comprehensive Spending Review, we said that a Design Quality Fund of £81 million was needed to support cash-strapped local authorities through design training, specialist expertise and design-focused policy.

“These pilot programmes are an encouraging start but it is only through significantly increased funding for local authority planning teams that the government’s ambitions for Design Codes in every council will be realised.”


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BDC 309 : Oct 2023