Design Code Briefing

New Approach to Design Codes

You may have heard in various Government pronouncements over the past year that “Design Codes” are a matter which the Government are not only advocating but are in the process of turning into reality, this will have a significant impact on local planning policy formulation and the future content of planning applications.

It should be noted that whilst Design Codes have been promoted in many ways over several years, this is the first time that a statutory footing (and community involvement) accompanies them.


Government Timescales (which are subject to change):

  • National Model Design Code (Draft) – Consultation January to March 2021.
  • National Model Design Code – Issued, October 2021 – to guide the production of Design Codes, Guides and Policies – target Local Planning Authorities.
  • Pilots – 14 Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) chosen to pilot the process/practice when producing Design Codes, expected publication of pilots, November 2021, those still awaited.
  • Pilots – 10 LPAs/neighbourhood planning groups asked to submit bids to pilot exemplar Design Codes in conjunction with the new “Office for Place,” September 2021, yet to be chosen.

At the time of writing, we are still awaiting the publication of the pilots, but we are informed these are imminent. These should provide some useful information on the way the Government is thinking about how Design Codes will need to be progressed by Local Planning Authorities (LPA’s).


We anticipate that LPA’s will consult on draft Design Codes before they are formally adopted and once Design Codes are in place at LPA level, any planning application submitted will have to address matters set out in them.  Once the local approach is in order, all future development proposals will need to reference and respond to Design Guides as part of planning application submissions. 

The need to prepare Design Code’s represents a new work stream which will need to be kept under review by all parties as the pilot studies and Councils begin to roll out the versions of Codes. We will keep these matters under review and will advise as matters progress. 

If you have any concerns or wish to discuss the Design Code initiatives in more details, please contact us on:

  • 0207 492 1722

Or email:


We look forward to speaking with you.

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