Government appoints Nicholas Boys Smith to establish new design body

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The housing secretary, Robert Jenrick, has appointed Nicholas Boys Smith to establish a new design body to drive up design standards

Last month, the government published proposals for a new, faster, simpler planning system which will require local authorities to introduce their own local design codes – enhancing beauty, quality and environmental standards by giving communities control over what is built in their areas.

The housing secretary, Robert Jenrick MP, has appointed Nicholas Boys Smith to establish a new design body, tasked with driving up design standards and supporting local communities to produce design codes defining beautiful design in each community.

Nicholas Boys Smith will chair a new steering group that will advise Government on how best to help communities set these local rules for local developments and ensure that for the first time in history beauty, design and high environmental standards are fundamental to every planning application.

The new design body will support communities in producing binding design codes for their local area, massively increase focus on design and quality in the planning process and ensure local design and architecture is recognised and conserved.

Building Better Building Beautiful Commission

As founding director of social enterprise Create Streets and co-chair for the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission, Boys Smith has a wealth of experience in researching popular and healthy places.

This work marks the next step in placing beauty and design firmly at the heart of the government’s new planning system and consigning ‘anywhereville’ developments to history.

The housing secretary has also announced the appointment of Charles O’Brien as the government’s Listing Heritage Adviser to help conserve some of England’s historic buildings as part of the most ambitious local heritage campaign for 40 years.

As a leading architectural historian and commissioner at Historic England, Charles will spearhead work with councils to increase the number of buildings and structures of significant historical and cultural value that are locally listed, helping to protect them through the planning system.

Supporting the heritage sector

Nicholas Boys Smith, leader of the steering group, said: “New places should be the conservation areas of the future: popular, beautiful, sustainable and supportive of public health and well-being.

“I am delighted to be asked to be help achieve that and look forward to getting stuck in.”

Heritage adviser, Charles O’Brien, said: “I am delighted to have been appointed to advise the Secretary of State on the programme to improve and extend the Local Lists of important buildings and places in England.

“The best way to protect the heritage we value is to identify what matters most to our communities and share our understanding and appreciation of them.”

Culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, added: “Historic buildings and monuments give each of our towns and cities their unique character.

“We’re determined to protect them for future generations, so that they appreciate all aspects of our past and enjoy beautiful places to live, work and visit.

“I welcome the appointment of Charles O’Brien to help guide this work, which comes on top of the unprecedented investment we are making to support our heritage sector through the £1.57bn Cultural Recovery Fund.”

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