Ministry of housing announces new building commission

The ministry of housing, communities and local government has announced the formation of the ‘Building Better, Building Beautiful’ commission, which aims to promote beauty in the built environment.

Specifically, the aims of the commission are threefold: to promote better design of both homes and the wider conurbations they reside in; to work out how new settlements can be developed with “greater community consent”; and to develop ways to identify and release appropriate land for housing.

The commission will seek views from the public and private sector in how to further these aims from December to May 2019, with an interim report due in July 2019. The final report will be released in December of that year.

Secretary of state James Brokenshire says: “Part of making the housing market work for everyone is helping to ensure that what we build, is built to last. That it respects the integrity of our existing towns, villages and cities.

“This will become increasingly important as we look to create a number of new settlements across the country and invest in the infrastructure and technology they will need to be thriving and successful places.

“This commission will kick start a debate about the importance of design and style, helping develop practical ways of ensuring new developments gain the consent of communities, helping grow a sense of place, not undermine it. This will help deliver desperately needed homes – ultimately building better and beautiful will help us build more.”

Think tank Policy Exchange, which published a report entitled ‘Building More, Building Beautiful’ in June that featured a foreword by Brokenshire, welcomed the news. The think tank’s director Dean Godson comments: “We know from our research and polling that local support for development increases across all income groups when beauty is made a priority and this commission represents a fantastic first step.

“Placing beauty at the heart of housing policy is the biggest idea in a generation.”

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