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WMCA launches design charter


The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) launched the West Midlands Design Charter at Birmingham’s Mailbox complex last week.  

The charter sets out to secure high-quality design in housing, civic architecture, urban spaces, parks and transport infrastructure.

It will also serve as a springboard to grow a range of key design sectors such as digital media, graphic design and creative industries including advertising and screen (film, TV and games).

In supporting the region’s wider design sector, it is also intended to drive investment and inclusive economic growth while combating global warming by promoting low-carbon, energy-efficient and climate-resilient design.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “Great design and creativity can have a huge and positive impact on the quality of life and wellbeing of our communities.

“But this charter is not just about raising the quality of the homes, places, buildings and natural environment around us. It’s also about championing and promoting our design sector, helping to drive our regional economy and new jobs.

The charter’s six main themes are:

  • Character;

  • Connectivity and mobility;

  • Future readiness;

  • Health and wellbeing;

  • Engagement and stewardship; and

  • Delivery.

The charter’s six themes and 12 principles have been developed in close collaboration with the WMCA’s members, which include 18 local authorities and three local enterprise partnerships.

It will provide an extra tool for local planning authorities to secure good urban design and high-quality development. Stratford District Council has already adopted the 12 principles as planning policy.

It will also be used as a guidance document for developments funded through the WMCA’s single commissioning framework – a funding pot of several hundred million pounds. Much of this funding is being channelled into housing and commercial schemes on the region’s former industrial (brownfield) sites, helping to relieve pressure on the green belt.

The charter is being backed by Homes England, the Design Council, the Landscape Institute and Lovell Partnerships. 

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