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Beauty will be in eye of beholder in new housing projects

England needs to build more homes. But they should also be building beautiful ones. And a new commission has been set up to promote the importance of design quality when it comes to home building.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire has announced the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission with a brief to develop a vision and introduce practical measures that mean new developments are welcomed in communities.

Improving design quality

Chaired by writer and philosopher Professor Sir Roger Scruton, the commission will have three aims:

  • To promote better design and style of homes, villages, towns and high streets, reflecting what communities want and on the tradition of their area.
  • To explore how new settlements can be developed with greater community consent.
  • To make the planning system work in support of better design and style, not against it.

The Government has recently rewritten planning laws to improve design quality and community engagement for housing developments, which will also focus on the character of a local area.

Design, style and community consent will be the key issues for the commission to work on.

Growing a sense of place

Mr Brokenshire said: “Most people agree we need to build more for future generations, but too many still feel that new homes in their local area just aren’t up to scratch.

“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.”

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