Design advice

We want to improve the standard of design in developments being delivered in the area and to ensure that only those of the highest quality are delivered in the future. 

Good design is critical in ensuring that proposals create sustainable, connected, characterful and healthy places, which people will enjoy for years to come. Whilst we have seen improvements in design quality, many schemes still fail to create the high-quality places sought by the North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy (JCS)

The National Planning Policy Framework makes clear that creating high-quality buildings and places is fundamental to what the planning and development process should achieve.

Pre-application advice on design

The Council offers design and landscape advice at all stages of the design process. This helps developers avoid the cost of poor design, and realise the full potential of proposals, creating high-quality sustainable places.

It is strongly recommended that applicants use the pre-application services that are offered within North Northamptonshire via the Development Management Team. 

There may be additional fees for design and landscape advice or specialist advice dependent on the scheme and site. 

Design Review Service - Design: Midlands

The Design Review Panel provides an independent and impartial process for evaluating the design quality and sustainability of development proposals in North Northamptonshire.

The panel offers advice across a variety of development types, scales and contexts, from single dwellings in the countryside to large-scale mixed-use urban extensions, and provides expertise in relation to:

  • architecture
  • landscape architecture and urban design
  • spatial planning and master planning
  • transport
  • sustainable building
  • the natural and historic built environment
  • other sustainable development matters

This can be in the form of workshops, walk and talk meetings or formal reviews.

All significant projects should be referred to design review at an early stage.

Visit the Design Midlands website.

Please note that a charge is payable for both services.

Building for a Healthy Life

North Northamptonshire Council supports the principles of Building for a Healthy Life (BHL), the latest edition of - and new name for - Building for Life 12 (BfL12). 

BHL updates England’s most widely known and most widely used design tool for creating places that are better for people and nature. The original 12-point structure and underlying principles within Building for Life 12 are at the heart of BHL.

The new name reflects changes in legislation, notably the Environment Bill, as well as refinements made to the 12 considerations in response to good practice and user feedback.

If a new housing development is awarded a BHL commendation, the homebuilder will have had to meet 12 stringent conditions, ranging from integration with local community infrastructure to the use of local design elements, and provision of adequate parking, and local amenities. A BHL home should offer a higher quality of life and be a better long-term investment.

Download the BHL Design Toolkit.

The implementation and monitoring of the North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy, particularly Policy 8 North Northamptonshire Place Shaping Principles, is the principal way in which BHL is promoted locally.

BfL12 assessments were last undertaken in North Northamptonshire in 2020 (before the establishment of BHL) and a lesson’s learned report was produced as a result. This report can be obtained on request from the Council’s planning policy team by emailing [email protected].

Last updated 08 August 2023