Last edited 22 Jul 2021

Office for Place

On 20 July 2021, the government announced the creation of an Office for Place.

The government’sPlanning for the Futureproposals set out a package of reforms for a faster, simpler planning system, proposing that local authorities introduce local design codes giving communities control over what is built in their areas. In addition government published revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework and the National Model Design Code.

To support the use of design codes the government created the Office for Place within the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. This will support communities to turn their visions into local standards that all new buildings will be required to meet.

The Office for Place will be advised by a board of experts from the planning and development industry:

  • Nicholas Boys Smith (Chair)
  • Vidhya Alakeson (Deputy Chair)
  • Robert Adam
  • Andrew Cameron
  • Rt Hon Ben Gummer
  • Sir John Hayes MP (Parliamentary representative)
  • Victoria Hills
  • Esther Kurland
  • Paul Monaghan
  • Ben Page
  • AdrianPenfold (OBE)
  • Anna Rose
  • Stephen Stone

In 2021, it will be supporting around 20 communities who are piloting the National Model Design Code through training on the principles it outlines.

The Government is considering whether to establish the Office for Place as an independent body, informed by responses to the planning reform consultation.

Nicholas Boys Smith, Chair of the Advisory Board for the Office for Place, said: "I am delighted to be Chairing the Advisory Board of the Office for Place. Britain has created and is creating some of the best developments in the world. But the quality achieved remains stubbornly inconsistent. We must do better, more often for the benefit of communities, to contribute to the economic success of our towns and cities and to look after our planet... Our vision is to help families, neighbourhoods, councils, landowners, housebuilders and developers more easily create places in which our communities can prosper. The Office for Place aims to encourage the British design and development industries to be the best ‘place-makers’ in the world aided by improving data on the discoverable links between place with happiness, health, popularity and sustainability."


See also: Robert Jenrick MP 21 July 2021 speech on the launch of the Office for Place, new National Model Design Code and revised National Planning Policy Framework at the Policy Exchange webinar on Building Beautiful Places.

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