Putting beauty at the heart of planning will end community objections – Jenrick
The coronavirus pandemic has pushed the government to provide “more and better housing” in a way that is “more urgent and important than ever,” the Housing Secretary said.
Launching a push to replace “ugly, unsustainable and shoddy” buildings with a preference for “beautiful”, in a speech to the Policy Exchange think tank, Robert Jenrick said the word “beauty” will be specifically included in planning rules for the first time since the system was created in 1947.
And he said the goal was to echo a time when there was more emphasis on providing attractive buildings for people who created a sense of local pride, with the belief that better homes would put end to opposition to new developments.
Mr Jenrick said: “The cost demanded by poor homes and places on quality of life, mental health, social mobility and opportunities for young people is well known and well demonstrated.
“Less explored is how the decline in quality, and yes beauty, that we’ve seen since the post-war period has matched ever-growing opposition to new housing.
“The new housing file is more important than ever, but it is also more difficult than ever.
“Until beauty and quality are a luxury, it is clear that they are essential to unlock community consent for development and housing.”
It comes as the Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced the launch of a new office for the place to raise design standards.
While the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) will place beauty at the heart of the planning system alongside a new set of local and binding standards for developments.
The changes establish an expectation that all boards should develop a local design code – an illustrated design guide that sets the standard for a local area – with input from local people.
“After the upheavals of the past 16 months, many people are rethinking what they want from their homes and local communities,” Jenrick said.
“Those who are fortunate enough to enjoy a home workspace, gardens or easy access to parks and public spaces, will make full use of them, especially on sunny days like today.
“But for those who are not or cannot, the need for us as a government and as a country to respond with more and better housing is more urgent and important than ever. “
The Housing Secretary said the plans would see power taken away from large developers and handed over to local communities.
And he said, “By making their preferences the foundation of our planning system, we will not only build new houses, but also build beautifully. “