New Design Code Pathfinders Announced

Where we live, what we do and how we spend our time have a huge impact on our daily lives. Well-designed places are also good for our health, while poorly designed places can make us feel lonely and uncomfortable and hinder the development of a city.

The Office for Place runs a program that helps cities create a set of rules for good places. These rules guide how new buildings and streets are designed and ensure that they fit in with the rest of the city, are good for the environment.

The new program, which begins in 2024-25, will help cities improve existing regulations and explore new ideas. The main objective of the program is to enable people living and working in cities to live a better life.

Building on a Strong Foundation

The first phase of this round is to strengthen existing design standards. To this end, five local authorities – Dacorum Borough Council, South Kesteven District Council, Thurrock Council, Wakefield Council and the London Borough of Waltham Forest – will be working together.

These authorities already have design standards in place, but the Design Code Pathfinder program will give them the opportunity to assess their performance and adapt them to the latest practices outlined in the National Model Design Code.

The program helps local authorities develop strong and effective design codes. These codes will provide guidelines for future development and will ensure that new construction and developments are of high quality and sustainable.

Pathfinders (Source –

Theme-Based Design Codes

The city councils of Blackpool, Hartlepool, Stoke-on-Trent, Stockport, Tewkesbury, Cheltenham and Gloucester are coming together and creating new “theme-based” design regulations. These rules will guide how cities should look and how cities should function.

What is going to change?

  • Non-Residential Areas: These rules will provide more clarity on what can be built in areas of factories and businesses. This will make cities more attractive and efficient.
  • Delivery Mechanism: These regulations will help in constructing new buildings quickly and easily.
  • Joint Local Authority Design Code: Some cities will work together and have the same design rules within their boundaries.

Sharing Knowledge and Building Capacity

This new design code created by Pathfinders will be very useful across the country. The flexibility and effectiveness of these design codes to create attractive, functional and sustainable spaces will be demonstrated. Using the knowledge and experience gained from this programme, the Office for Place will support other local authorities to develop their own design codes.

Transparency and Collaboration

The design code demonstrates a transparent and collaborative approach to the pathfinder selection process. Local authorities, who wished to become pathfinders, followed existing design standards. To identify priority areas for new development, the Office for Place formed strategic partnerships with other government departments.

Investing in the Future

The program is paying a lot of money to help local authorities. Five authorities, who will assess their current standards, will each receive £80,000. And theme-based coders will be paid £120,000 each. This shows that the program is very committed to achieving high-quality design results.

Design Code Pathfinder is an important government initiative that promotes new ideas, knowledge and collaboration. This will help local authorities to proactively develop their areas.

The program focuses on creating beautiful and prosperous communities using both old and new methods. It has huge potential to create communities like this across the UK!

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