Design:Midlands want to reassure that we are taking coronavirus seriously and will wish to avoid putting our associates, Panel members, local authority and developer/design colleagues at any risk – your safety is our utmost priority in delivering our services to you.

For now, we will not be holding face to face events, but will be offering remote-based support instead. We will be discussing with those that have booked onto design reviews on how this can be delivered. We will adapt design support on any new commissions received in this interim period.

Training events will be postponed until later in the year – and delegates will receive separate notification on that.
If you have any queries about our approach, or suggestions on how we can best continue to provide support, please let us know.

We hope the current crisis is not affecting you, your loved-ones or your business too much and that we can get back to normal soon. Thank you.
Credit: Evans Vettori Architects – Parkside Campus, Matlock
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Design:Midlands highlights report on how to prioritise good design and quality in new homes

During 2019 the Design Network organised a series of roundtable conversations between the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and councillors and planning officers across the country. MHCLG representatives attended to listen and learn about the day to day barriers local authorities were finding when looking to deliver well designed, high quality homes.

Opun and MADE (now Design:Midlands) led on this programme in the Midlands – and held the roundtable discussion with representatives from a range of local authorities and their Elected Members. The feedback included issues such as:
• the 5 year housing land supply was skewing priorities away from design quality in meeting numerical targets
• permitted development rights regime creates poor quality homes and places
• viability was used as a measure to reduce post-permission quality standards
• a disconnect between highways design practice and planning design standards

The report offers recommendations and some potential solutions which are now reflected in the National Design Guide – in particular, the guide called Design: process and tools which provides clear advice to local authorities and their Elected Members on the tools, actions and techniques that can support better design and place making.

To discuss this report further and for advice on any of the new national guidelines contact Design:Midlands at

...because everyone deserves better designed places
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