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Beauty is not in the eye of the NPPF


There’s a reason why new build homes on your local housing estate sell like hot cakes.

A lot of people love square magnolia rooms with manageable gardens. For me, the revised NPPF, the National Model Design Code and the launch of the new Office for Place underpins the disconnect between national policy and local sentiment.

Design is not the biggest issue facing the development industry. If policy makers spent some time talking to the people who actually live in these communities they’d realise the real issues are: will there be enough infrastructure delivered to support the new homes and importantly, can I afford to buy one.

We cannot prioritise design at the expense of affordability. Natural stone, tree-lined streets and village greens all cost money. In an era where house prices exceed salaries by as much as 15 times, I’m not sure we should be implementing policies that will only exacerbate this.

All this before we even begin to dissect the notion of what ‘beautiful’ design looks like as well. What a poor choice of words. It should be quality design, not beautiful design. Quality can be measured whereas beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder.

The subtle nuances of the language used is important. But then as a comms professional, I would say that…

It will be interesting to see how this all beds in over time. As if the development industry didn’t have enough hurdles to negotiate, I can only assume that greater scrutiny on design and a requirement for it to be ‘beautiful’ will only make it harder to get new, much-needed homes built and even more challenging for people to buy them.

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