Communities across England have been awarded cash to help them shape the design of their neighbourhoods, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has announced.

As part of the government’s plans to level up for communities across the country, 25 areas have been awarded a share of £3m to help them set their own standards for design locally.

The government says that the Design Code Pathfinder Programme will empower communities to have their say on the development of new homes, buildings and amenities, such as shops and workspace, in their area and help restore people’s pride in the places they live.

The codes are a collection of design-principles to help local areas deliver more beautiful and sustainable places and communities – such as specifying local building materials or deciding the layout of streets.

Housing minister Stuart Andrew said: “We want to give local people power over what their neighbourhoods look like and make sure all new developments enhance their surroundings and preserve local character and identity.

“Whether that’s choosing red brick for new buildings in our industrial heartland cities or choosing to set sustainability standards for newbuild homes, our Pathfinder Programme will help turn visions of greener, more beautiful homes and places into standards which developers adhere to.”

The design codes will be used as examples that communities across the country can draw on to produce their own, with support from the Office for Place.

Example projects include:

  • Bradford Council will be pioneering an authority-wide design code to regenerate the urban areas in the district, to support the regeneration of some of the most deprived wards in the UK.
  • In Medway, Kent, the council will use the pathfinder programme to produce a design code for the regeneration of the area’s emerging city centre, Chatham, with new development to reflect on local character while protecting the natural environment.
  • In Mansfield, the district council will develop a design code for the town with a focus on the regeneration of Mansfield town centre with a specific focus on delivering homes and new opportunities for economic growth.

Chair of the Transition Board for the Office for Place, Nicholas Boys Smith, said: “The evidence is clear that good design is good for you and good for our neighbourhoods and civic life. Too many of the lives our fellow citizens lead are affected by poor places, no friends round the corner, less sense of community, less walking, less local pride.

“Left behind areas have suffered particularly, blighted with fast roads through town centres, ugly ‘boxland development’ where there used to be a neighbourhood or ‘could be anywhere’ housing units when people want to live somewhere.

“It is time to change this and to move from a vicious circle of generic development to a virtuous circle of regenerative development. These 25 council and neighbourhood pathfinders will help light the way to support the creation and stewardship of popular, healthy beautiful and sustainable places.”

Local councils and neighbourhood planning groups throughout England will benefit from the work of the pathfinders through the sharing of lessons learnt and good practice.

The areas allocated funding are as follows:

Planning authorities

  • Carlisle City Council – £120,000
  • Lake District National Park Authority – £120,000
  • Trafford Council – £160,000
  • Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council – £120,000
  • Shropshire Council – £120,000
  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council – £120,000
  • Teignbridge District Council – £160,000
  • Medway Council – £120,000
  • Reigate and Banstead Borough Council – £120,000
  • Surrey County Council – £120,000
  • Brent Council – £120,000
  • London Borough of Barking and Dagenham – £120,000
  • Epping Forest District Council – £120,000
  • Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service – £120,000
  • Uttlesford District Council – £160,000
  • East Midlands Development Company – £120,000
  • Gedling Borough Council – £160,000
  • Mansfield District Council – £120,000
  • Bradford Council – £160,000
  • East Riding of Yorkshire Council – £160,000
  • Darlington Borough Council – £120,000

Neighbourhood planning groups

  • Weymouth Town Council – £30,000
  • Finsbury Park and Stroud Green – £30,000
  • Bacup and Stacksteads Neighbourhood Forum – £30,000
  • South Woodford Neighbourhood Forum – £30,000