Hyas are pleased to be supporting Councils in 3 of the 14 areas selected by MHCLG take part in a 6-month testing programme to apply the National Model Design Code (NMDC) in their areas. Over 70 expressions of interest were made in response to the invitation from Government issued earlier this year. Hyas helped each Council to bid successfully to become part of the programme, and members of our team are now working closely alongside Officers and other stakeholders to help test key aspects of the process and help to create more attractive buildings and places for the future.

Mid Devon

Hyas are working with Mid Devon District Council to undertake the NMDC pilot exercise, supported by David Hawes, Urban Designer, and Hilton Barnfield Architects.  This pilot will jointly explore the overall reach, usability and typologies as set out in the NMDC within a rural context and how the NMDC may inform the plan making process from its inception through the development of a design vision and objectives as Mid Devon embarks on its new Local Plan. Following the development of a district wide design vision, we will develop coding plans for two locations and consider the key design ingredients for the illustrative area types. Importantly, as part of our testing process, we will explore whether the NMDC provides the right type of guidance and typologies to support LAs and places like Mid Devon in delivering beauty and high quality design.


Hyas are leading the NMDC pilot exercise for Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council, supported by OPEN and BE Group.  The pilot focuses on Bootle, where an AAP is proposed and emerging with the key aims of regenerating the town and its environs. As part of this process, we are seeking to understand how a Design Code can be developed to accompany/form part of the AAP and specifically understand the potential for Design Codes to act as a regenerative tool in areas of deprivation. We’ll develop a draft design vision Bootle and define the change and transformation required to the quality of place, in order to drive regeneration forward. Our approach has the potential to be both innovative and practical, as we seek to provide a template for wider design coding across Bootle and hopefully learning that can apply to urban areas in need of regeneration.

Colchester, Tendring & Essex

Hyas are providing project management and planning support to the three partner councils (Essex County Council, Tendring District Council and Colchester Borough Council) who are working together to bring forward the Tendring Colchester Borders Garden Community.  The project is uniquely placed to test the NMDC approach, recognising the importance of highest quality design as one of the Garden Community principles. It provides an excellent opportunity to consider the various aspects of the planning and design approach with specific reference to a large scale (7,000-9,000 new homes alongside a wide range of other uses, facilities and infrastructure) long‐term strategic project, at an early stage in the process. The approach will enable the early stages of the NMDC process to be tested – to evolve a robust baseline understanding and establish a strong vision with active community engagement.

For more information on how Hyas can help with securing high quality placemaking outcomes, please see our Expertise page, or get in touch with Rob Smith, Paul Brockway or Steve Hill to talk things through.