The National Planning Policy Framework makes clear that creating high quality buildings and places is fundamental to what the planning and development process should achieve. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have now launched a design guide to illustrate how well designed places that are beautiful, enduring and successful can be achieved in practice.
The national design guide sets out the characteristics of well-designed places and demonstrates what good design means in practice.
It forms part of the government’s collection of planning practice guidance and should be read alongside the separate planning practice guidance on design process and tool.
Nature is one of the 10 principles of a well designed place. The guide states:
"Nature contributes to the quality of a place, and to people’s quality of life, and it is a critical component of well designed places. Natural features are integrated into well designed development. They include natural and designed landscapes, high quality public open spaces, street trees, and other trees, grass, planting and water. Well-designed places:
■ integrate existing, and incorporate new natural features into a multifunctional network that supports quality of place, biodiversity and water management, and addresses climate change mitigation and resilience;
■ prioritise nature so that diverse ecosystems can flourish to ensure a healthy natural environment that supports and enhances biodiversity;
■ provide attractive open spaces in locations that are easy to access, with activities for all to enjoy, such as play, food production, recreation and sport, so as to encourage physical activity and promote health, well-being and social inclusion."