More information about publications launched at Summit 2005 in Manchester

Summit Special

Summit becomes publication announcement festView webcasts and download publications launched at the summit on ODPM (Communities and Local Government) website


New planning policy (PPS1) only backs good design according to CABE (04 Feb 05)

New national planning policy published this week, puts good design at the heart of the system, was welcomed by CABE. The new Planning Policy Statement 1 (PPS1) will ensure that good planning and good design are indivisible. The guidance makes it clear that design is about how places work, not just how they look, a message CABE has consistently championed.

The PPS shifts the national design test dramatically. In the past, PPG1 told us to refuse bad design; now PPS1 tells us to only accept good design. Most designs are somewhere in the middle, mediocre developments that make up the bulk of new buildings and places. These were acceptable under PPG1 but now mediocre is not enough, and developments must work to make places better, improving their character, quality and the way they work. As well as meeting this tough test development must also be appropriate in its context, a long standing given for all good designs.

The need to improve an area is an important development, potentially more stringent than existing conservation policy, and is warmly welcomed by CABE. PPS1 aims to bring all places to a high standard, not accepting that poor quality development is acceptable in poor quality areas. CABE believes that PPS1 will help to create environments local communities can be proud of.

More from CABEPlanning Policy Statement 1: Delivering Sustainable Design can be downloaded from The ODPM's website

Prescott must follow 'sustainable housing' talk with action - Friends of the Earth response to PPS1

Sustainable Communities: People, Places and Prosperity - the five year plan from ODPM(Communities and Local Government)is published this week. (04 Feb 05)

Key proposals in the plan are:

Putting more power in the hands of communities to improve local services and create safer, communities - through proposals for a Neighbourhoods Charter

Extend our work to keep streets free of anti-social behaviour, with good quality, well-maintained parks and open spaces; and well run, attractive, inclusive town centres - through a new £5 million 'How to' programme

Strengthening the role of councils in leading their areas and of individual councillors as the leaders and advocates of their neighbourhoods and communities. We will be consulting on proposals to develop, in partnership with local authorities, a new approach to create more mayors with more powers to transform our major cities.

Expressions of interest will be sought from local authorities to participate in a pilot for a further 40 local area agreements

Faster progress to narrow the gap between the best and worst off to make sure opportunity and choice are for all, including a new more radical approach to renewal in a small number of very disadvantaged areas with the aim to create neighbourhoods with a more sustainable mix of tenures and incomes and address the problems of worklessness, skills, crime, poor environments and poor health.

Ensure people in all regions share in increasing prosperity through developing new ways to deliver economic growth at the level that makes most sense - with further action being announced this week to drive forward the Northern Way.

As well as the main document, ODPM (Communities and Local Government) has published 9 regional strategies.


Design Codes can lead to better quality developments (04 Feb 05)

The CABE report,Design Coding: Testing its use in Englandwas launched last week at the Summit. Written by CABE in partnership with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Communities and Local Government) and English Partnerships (EP), interim findings are given from a study examining the effectiveness of coding as a tool to deliver better quality housing developments more efficiently across England.

In 2004, ODPM (Communities and Local Government) asked CABE and EP to undertake a two-year research programme to test design coding as a means of delivering well designed places. Initial findings suggest that time spent preparing a code does bring dividends in terms of fast tracking a proposal through the planning process, improving design quality and getting buy-in to large-scale housing developments.

According to the case studies, a development produced with design codes is of notably higher quality. An example is the Newhall development in Harlow , which has been awarded a Building for Life Gold Standard and a RIBA housing award. The code for Harlow included strict requirements for design.

The research also shows how design codes can help bring the professionals involved in planning, design, and highways, together with land owners and developers to create better plans more quickly. Following the masterplanning process the aim of a code is to provide rules for delivering a development.

Draft design codes for the pilot schemes in Ashford, Cirencester, Hastings , Newcastle and Swindon are underway and significant progress has been made in Aldershot and Rotherham .

To get the best results out of a design code the research found that:

  • A decision to prepare a code should be made at the beginning of the masterplanning process
  • It should be clear about aspects that are mandatory and those that are for guidance only
  • It requires a commitment to design from the outset and strong leadership with a sense of purpose and vision
  • It needs to be given weight either through the planning or development process
  • It should be presented clearly in words and diagrams


Blackpool estate wins Deputy Prime Minister's Sustainable Communities Award

Grange Park Community Project in Blackpool, the overall winner of the Deputy Prime Minister's Award for Sustainable Communities 2004, has been praised as a remarkable success story.

The once run down council estate built during the 1940's and 1970's has turned its back on high levels of deprivation, unemployment, crime, anti-social behaviour and environmental dereliction thanks to a co-ordinated strategy led by Blackpool Council, residents and service providers.

The Deputy Prime Minister's award is designed to showcase the delivery of sustainable communities and the importance of involving people in the development of their own neighbourhoods.

The winning project brought about changes through:

• Re-furbishing housing and providing community facilities;

• A successful drug strategy in partnership with the Drug Action Team to tackle the drugs culture and give support to families of drug dependents;

• A multi-agency approach to tackling anti-social behaviour;

• Providing a multi-million pound state of the art information and communication City Learning Centre;

• A new primary school; and

• Creating an innovative partnership with the Lancashire Fire Service to combat deliberate fires and by establishing a programme of fire prevention education for children.

The Award was presented by the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott before nearly 2000 delegates attending the at the G-MEX Conference Centre in Manchester on 1 February.

The other finalists were Chatham Maritime and The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent; Joining Up Northumberland Park, North London; and, Urban and Rural Renaissance Initiative, County Durham. The panel was unanimous in its choice of the Grange Park Community Project, Blackpool as overall winner.

More information including images from ODPM(Communities and Local Government)


Design for Manufacturers Competition - Building the £60,000 Home

The Design for Manufacture competition will showcase how to build cost-effectively and at good quality across a range of housing types, and will focus on capturing the benefits from modern construction and on stimulating public discussion about what Homes for the 21st Century should be like. Contractors will be invited to bid for the right to construct one or more new developments on English Partnerships owned sites. The competition was launched at the Summit.

More from English Partnerships


CABE director to head up Academy of Sustainable Skills (04 Feb 05) Chris Murray, Director of Learning & Development at CABE, has been seconded to the new Academy for Sustainable Communities as acting Chief Executive for a period of six months. In this role he will lead the early formation of the Academy, including completion of the business planning and start up phase.

ASC is being created following a review by Sir John Egan of the skills needed to implement the Government's Sustainable Communities Plan. Its purpose will be to raise, inspire and enable people across different fields to work together in a coherent, farsighted approach to creating and renewing our communities. ASC will aim for world-class excellence in skills and will work with a wide range of partners, including the Regional Centres of Excellence and Architecture and Built Environment Centres, and also encourage people to consider careers and courses in these sectors.

In his new role, Murray will be working closely with the ODPM(Communities and Local Government) team and other members of the existing task group which has developed the thinking behind the new Academy. These include English Partnerships, English Heritage, RIBA, RICS, RTPI, CITB/SSC, LDA, LGA, the RDAs and Regional Centres of Excellence.

During the Summit, the Deputy Prime Minister also confirmed that the Academy would be based in Leeds.