Bloor Homes to work with Design Network

The UK’s largest privately owned house-builder, Bloor Homes has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Design Network to ensure the quality of its future developments. The groundbreaking agreement will see the Network’s member organisations providing design support on dozens of Bloor developments around England.

The memorandum provides for Design Network members to participate in early-stage design workshops which will look at sites that Bloor has acquired to establish a framework for development and design objectives. Local authorities will be invited to join the workshops with a view to resolving issues such as access, connectivity, street network, landscape, green infrastructure, sustainable drainage, location of uses and community facilities at an early stage in order to streamline the planning process. Once a Masterplan has been developed by Bloor they will return to the Design Network for a further detailed design workshop. The two organisations will work to persuade local authorities that should give weight to the findings of the workshops and reviews, as the NPPF requires, and use them to guide any discussions on design.

The agreement has already kicked-off with a workshop looking at a site in Leicestershire for more than 600 homes.

Richard O’Brien, Group Design Director at Bloor Homes, said: “The design review process has always been wrongly positioned at the end of the planning application cycle. This new arrangement allows for fundamental design related matters to be openly discussed at an earlier stage. I am hopeful that this will in turn produce better schemes and assist local authorities in their decision making”.

David Tittle, Chair of the Design Network and Chief Executive of MADE said: “We have seen Bloor a few times at MADE Design Review and we know that they have already taken a number of initiatives to further improve the quality of their developments. We are very pleased that they have decided to work with the Design Network and hope this will be a model for other house-builders”.
“In line with the recent Farrell Review we are keen to promote pro-active planning like this so that good design is built into schemes at an early stage and we have fewer negative planning decisions and appeals.”