• 0300 126 3000


The North Northamptonshire Joint Planning and Delivery Unit want to improve the standard of design in developments being delivered in North Northamptonshire and ensure that only developments 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 are still failing to create the high quality places sought by the JCS.

Design Advice 

Successful placemaking requires a collaborative and multi-disciplinary approach ensuring that the right expertise is brought together to get the best out of the project, and that different specialists work together. NNJPDU Design Services include:

Design Surgeries

The NNJPDu run monthly design surgeries with internal officers only as part of the planning process to assess smaller schemes (10-200 residential units and up to 2000 sqm commercial) or sensitive schemes, preferably at pre-application stage.  These surgeries use a development team approach within the local planning teams, typically with representatives of the police, highways, urban design and othe professionals, as required and will assess schemes using the North Northamptonshire Place Shaping Principles, National Design Guide and Building for a Healthy Life (BHL).  Local Design Surgeries will frequently identify projects which should go to Design Review.

Pre-application Advice

We offer design and landscape advice at all stages of the design process and for all scales of development. We provide pre-application advice to the local development management teams, and developers to help avoid the cost of poor design, and realise the full potential of proposals, creating high quality sustainable places.

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

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 masterplanning, transport, sustainable building, the natural and historic built environment, and 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

Both services are chargeable, and can be incorporated in the fees for pre-app advice, or for the Design Review Panel, can be procured direct.

Building For Life 12 (BfL12)

BfL12 is recognised as the industry standard toolkit to help developers and local authorities assess residential development and to assist in developing well designed schemes. BfL12 was recently updated in July 2020 with the new edition Building for a Healthy Life (BHL) with a stronger focus on placemaking for health and wellbeing. BHL is a design tool endorsed by the government, cited in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and informed the North Northamptonshire Place Shaping Principles, Policy 8 of the Joint Core Strategy (JCS 2016). 


Lessons Learned from Design Surgeries

BfL12 monitoring is undertaken in North Northamptonshire (NN) every two years through Policy 8 of the JCS and is the associated monitoring indicator to help gauge the policy's effectiveness.  The assessments include residential schemes of 10+ dwellings that have been completed during those two years across all four NN authorities; Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough and East Northamptonshire.

The Lessons Learned report provides a summary of the key issues and lessons learned from the latest Building for Life 12 monitoring of developments in North Northamptonshire over this two year period.


Design Monitoring

We assess whether the design policies are being achieved through an Annual Review of Housing Design Quality, using Building for Life 12 as our assessment tool. This is written up each year in the Annual Monitoring Report (AMR) but we have also produced a number of longer assessments, with photo evidence to explain the assessment and so we can learn and improve design quality.


Design Policy

The NNJPDU are currently working with key stakeholders to produce a Design Charter - which will set out the strategic commitment to good placemaking within North Northamptonshire, mandatory steps and processes for achieving good design and a service level charter for future applications. The charter will be the key design document for North Northamptonshire, be founded upon the principles of BFL/BHL and the North Northamptonshire Joint Core Strategy (JCS) and will take forward the provisions of the National Design Guide published MCHLG at a North Northamptonshire level.

The charter will provide the basis for further design policy and guidance, both thematic and area based.


Design and Delivery Network

We organise regular meetings, site visits and training opportunities to ensure that the 4 LPAs can share common issues, best practice and agree and identify ways forward.