£100m English Cities Fund will use 'community coding' to help drive government's regeneration agenda.
The government is planning to test its Urban Design codes idea on five inner-city sites earmarked for regeneration under the £100m English Cities Fund.

Lesley Chalmers, the fund's chief executive, said that the codes were part of the "step change in quality" required to drive the government's regeneration agenda.

She said: "The design codes allow you to set out principles about the place you hope to create. If you work through these principles with the community, people understand them."

English Cities Fund is a partnership between Legal & General, Amec and English Partnerships to attract long-term private investment into deprived areas. It will announce the exact locations of the five sites in the new year. Two key areas known to be receiving funding are Canning Town in London and the Westgate area of Wakefield in Yorkshire, with Liverpool strongly favoured to make the list.

Standards on urban design will be negotiated with local communities and then adopted as development guidance.

The move comes as John Prescott last week formally announced his backing for the codes. Speaking in front of Prince Charles at the Prince's Foundation, where urban design codes were developed, the deputy prime minister renamed the practice "community coding" and pledged to use it to deliver consistent high-quality design in larger areas, as predicted in Building (24 October).

Prescott said: "Instead of spending money on lawyers and planning enquiries, developers can spend it on planning and design, and everyone benefits."

Prescott also announced that the consultation draft of Planning Policy Guidance on general principles and practice would be issued around the turn of the year. The guidance is expected to lay out in greater clarity the standards required for sustainable development and community involvement, putting them "at the heart of the planning system", according to Prescott.

  • The government has announced that English Partnerships and Bellway Homes have formed a public–private partnership to develop 10,000 homes at Barking Reach in the Thames Gateway.