National Design Guide published

Former Lord Mayor Treloar Hospital site, Alton
July 16, 2019

The Government published its National Design Guide (with accompanying new Design: process & tools section in the NPPG) on 1st October 2019. These documents seek to reinforce the NPPF guidance with regard to the delivery of high quality places and buildings that benefit people and communities. The Design Guide contains 10 characteristics relating to Context; Identity; Built Form; Movement; Nature; Public Spaces; Uses; Homes & buildings; Resources; and Lifespan.

A number of design threads run through the guidance, in particular the importance of landscape character and provision of well-designed hard and soft landscaping. The incorporation of high-quality and integrated public spaces incorporating a variety of landscapes and activities, including play, is a critical component of well-designed places.

With regard to the new NPPG section on Design tools and process, key points to note in terms of landscape are:

  1. Landscape and townscape character are identified as being part of appropriate evidence in defining characteristics of an area when dealing with Non-Strategic Policies
  2. Masterplans set the vision and implementation strategy for a development. However, a range of other plans and technical reports may be needed alongside a masterplan, to provide supporting evidence and set out related proposal. These could include landscape assessment and proposals for securing biodiversity net gain;
  3. Design codes can be applied to all development types including residential, commercial, mixed use, open space, landscape or public realm requirements; and
  4. Parameter plans can include information on the proposed land use, building heights, areas of potential built development, structure of landscape and green infrastructure, access and movement and other key structuring and placemaking components.

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