Jenrick expresses 'interest' in Beauty Commission's 'planning fast track for beauty'

The housing secretary Robert Jenrick has said he welcomes the Building Beautiful Commission report's recommendations, singling out a proposal for a "fast-track" planning process for so-called "beautiful" schemes.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick. Pic: Getty Images
Housing secretary Robert Jenrick. Pic: Getty Images

The Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission, announced by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) in November 2018 with the aim of improving the design quality of new development, published its final report today

It sets out a raft of "policy propositions" to improve design quality, including a number of proposed changes to the planning system.

According to a statement from the MHCLG, in a speech this afternoon at the report's launch, Jenrick will say that "beautiful, high-quality homes must become the norm, not the exception".

He said: "I am interested in the proposal of a "fast track for beauty". Where individuals and developers have put in the time to create proposals for well-designed buildings, which use high quality-materials and take account of their local setting, it can’t be right their planning applications are held up.

"And the report is right that local authorities will need to play a leading role in this design revolution. We will need to ensure they have the right skills and leadership to fully carry out their role as place-makers.  

"I am therefore determined to do all I can to help achieve the goal you’ve set in the report’s conclusion."

Commission chair Nicholas Boys Smith said: "Most new developments in this country are mediocre or poor. 

He said the commission has spent a year "examining the planning and development system in great depth" and had "meetings with or responses from many hundreds of professionals and members of the public".

He added: "In the report we will call for nothing less than a new development and planning framework. However, we set out, we hope, very practical and achievable steps to get there.

"We have evolved a comprehensive framework of 45 policy proposals organised around eight key themes for central government, local government, the design professions, the development industry and those who educate them."

A statement from the MHCLG said that the government will issue its full response to the report "in due course".

According to the MHCLG, the new national model design code that will "set basic design standards where local areas fail to adopt their own design code" is being prepared and "will be published later this year".


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