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Local Design Code at heart of Tudeley Village proposals

Published 1st June 2021

Good design has long been a requirement of the planning process, but soon all local planning authorities will be required to comply with a National Modal Design Code, which aims to ensure new buildings fit in with the local character.

Councils will need to create their own Local Design Codes and policies, based on the national code. The proposals are being tried in 14 councils from across England.

The move has been welcomed by Nicholas Boys Smith, co-chair of the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission, who said: “The pilots are a very important first step as councils start to grapple again with how they can define visions for development in their areas which are popularly-beautiful, profoundly locally based and will support lives which are happy, healthy and sustainable.”

Housing Minister Christopher Pincher said: “Instead of developers forcing plans on locals, they will need to adapt to proposals from local people, ensuring that current and new residents alike will benefit from beautiful homes in well-designed neighbourhoods.”

Local design codes are, however, already being proposed in many of the new communities being brought forward in this country.

In such cases, the idea is to ensure that not only do the new communities give residents a sense of place, but also to ensure the communities are not out of step with their surroundings.

Before the Tudeley Village masterplan was drawn up, its architects and planners carefully considered what a village in the Weald of Kent should look like, and visited communities such as Goudhurst, Hawkhurst, Cranbrook and West Malling to understand how they developed, what materials were used and how they function in the modern world.

The Tudeley Village delivery strategy is clear that design coding will be an essential, integral tool in the birth of the new community: “This is to ensure that the layout, architecture, public realm and landscape are all of the highest quality and emerge as the vision intended.”

But it is not intended to be overly restrictive and allows for individual areas to have their own character, with the development of Neighbourhood Design Codes within the overall strategy.

To ensure long-term compliance with the codes, a town architect will be appointed to guard against inconsistent development and safeguard quality of design and construction.

To read more about how the Tudeley Village masterplan was drawn up, and how it will be delivered, please see: