The NPPF was revised last Thursday 20th July 2021. The main changes in this version is the push of Robert Jenrick’s ideology of creating ‘beautiful and sustainable buildings and places’ and ‘ensure that new streets are tree lined ’, the framework specifically requires tree officers and highway officers to work together and for solutions to be found to enabling tree lined streets, as well as the long term maintenance of these trees.
To support the development of ‘high quality, beautiful and sustainable buildings and places’ the framework also requires all Local Planning Authorities to prepare design guides or codes consistent with the principles set out in the National Design Guide & National Model Design Code, and which reflect local character and design preferences. The design codes can be prepared at an area wide, neighbourhood or site specific scale. The framework encourages landowners and developers to contribute to these exercises.
Clare Spiller, Senior Planner at Chapman Lily Planning comments that with cash strapped Councils, I can see that the long term maintenance of street trees will come down to the developers to fund, but it would be hoped that these trees would provide ‘added value’ to a development, that would more than compensate for their maintenance cost. The value of trees in this revised NPPF is viewed as a way to help and adapt to climate change.
In my mind the word ‘beautiful’ just reinforces how subjective ‘design’ is, and there will be plenty of debates at to what ‘beautiful’ really is.
Unfortunately, the downside of councils preparing design codes or guides will be the enormous amount of resource and time taken for Local Authorities to complete this process which requires engaging with the local community in drawing up these design codes/guides. However, it is encouraging that developers and landowners are seen as key stakeholders in developing these design codes and guides.
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