Good design should be the aim of all involved in the development process, but it is primarily the responsibility of designers and their clients. Nevertheless, the appearance of proposed development and its relationship to its surroundings are material considerations in determining planning applications (please also see the National Planning Policy Framework - Section 7).
As well as appearance, the practical aspects of building design are also key; soundness of construction, energy conservation, drainage, access, car parking, daylight and overshadowing, for instance. But well-designed buildings can enrich our surroundings and cultural life.
It's also more about quality than style and taste. Our philosophy is that new development should meet all the necessary practical design considerations, that it should not damage the environment, and that it should respect its surroundings. In conservation areas this may normally point towards a more 'traditional' approach, not necessarily slavishly copying the past but complementing it, with the use of traditional forms and materials. In other locations, such as business parks or free-standing sites, imaginative modern designs which make a 'statement' are positively welcomed. In all locations, however, the intrinsic 'quality' of the design will be the chief benchmark.