What is the Status of Manual for Streets?

Ill be blogging in detail on the new National Model Design Code and associated NPPF revisions however for the latter I spotted a very confusing footnote 45.

Policies and decisions should not make use of or reflect the former Design Bulletin 32, which was
withdrawn in 2007 and superseded by Manual for Streets.

Here they are deleting text from the draft revision which was never part of the recently revised NPPF.

Of course Manual for Streets did superceded DB32, it says so

Manual for Streets (MfS) supersedes Design Bulletin 32 and its companion guide Places,
Streets and Movement, which are now withdrawn in England and Wales.

What is going on? Firstly it was not withdrawn in Scotland then, though it was superceded by the Scottish Streets design guide ‘Designing Streets‘ in 2010 which also says in its introduction that it supercedes DB32. .

Secondly Manual for Streets 2, which came out under a conservative government was never published by the DoT as policy and instead published and charged for by the CIHT, with an endorsement in a foreword by the minister. There is a link to it in the Model Design Guide appendix but it is dead. This is the correct link to a summary only. You will find a full copy as an appeal appendix here Please endorse MFS2 and give us a link. MFS2 was published because of huge gaps in MFS1, such as street hierarchy’s on large scale developments and design of rural roads. It also more fully reflected link and place design theory This led many retrogressive highway authority’s to say it wasn’t a full replacement. MfS1 reads like it was written for urban designers, MfS 2 for highway engineers.

A brief note on the history of DB32. It was published in 1977 and very much reflected the thinking of the day. Car oriented, lots of cul de sacs and wide junctions. It was revised in 1992 but fiercely criticized by urban designers and was supplemented by Places, streets and movements – a companion guide to Design Bulletin 32: residential roads and footpaths (DETR, 1998), this and DB32 was replaced by MFS in 2007.

Back in the 1990s I attended a talk by the original author of the 1977 version of DB32 who was critical of the 1992 refresh for not going nearly far enough. (I think he was David Taylor cant be sure). He spend the intervening years studying street design and guidance and design in Netherlands and Germany and was years ahead of his time.

MFS is long overdue for a refresh incorporating for example ‘link place node’ thinking – as in Designing Streets, ideas from the Dutch CROW design guide, autonomous and electric vehicles etc. It should be an appendix to the National Model Design Code guidance fully integrated.

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