Government launches new strategy on 'quality of place'

The government is to set minimum design standards for every public building in the UK under new plans to improve the quality of public spaces.

A new strategy on improving the quality of public space will be launched today by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The new strategy will set out a number of proposals to ensure that good design is at the forefront of thinking on place-making. These will include:

  • A minimum design standard set for every new public building programme, from schools to hospitals, job centres, railway stations and more
  • Boosting the role of ministerial design champions
  • New planning policy on the historic environment and green infrastructure
  • Promoting and funding more public engagement in the design of public buildings
  • Strengthening the skills and knowledge base of local authorities and public services on design and quality of place.

Hazel Blears
Blears: "We can’t let the economic challenges we are facing now provide an excuse for bad planning"

It is unclear as yet how minimum design standards will be policed, but it is likely to mean a more rigorous examination of proposals through the planning process either by regional design champions or Cabe.

Hazel Blears, secretary of state for communities and local government, said: “If we give up on good design now, we will simply create rundown areas which we will all have to live with once we get beyond this recession - and we'll end up paying for them twice. That's why we can't let the economic challenges we are facing now provide an excuse for bad planning, careless maintenance and poor quality buildings.”