Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission

St Albans Broadband Boxes

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Goverment have announced a Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission into the quality of housing across the nation. The purpose of the ‘Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission’ is to tackle the challenge of poor quality design and build of homes and places, across the country and help ensure as we build for the future, we do so with popular consent.

Quite simply if we build houses in the wrong place, to a poor standard, without the consent of local communities we are only storing up future misery for the people in those houses and others nearby. 

“Ian Harvey, Executive Director for Civic Voice said "We welcome this commission which shines another light on the importance of the built and historic environment. We are pleased that we have already started communication with Government officials and have been offered 10 places to attend the Government's Building Beauty conference in February 2019."

The quality of our cities, towns and villages is vital to the achievement of so many objectives which are shared across the political spectrum: economic growth and prosperity, social cohesion, public health, safety and crime reduction. Most people want to have a say, and many want to play an active part, in making sure that the design of their city, town or village is as good as it can be. Quality of place is not just determined by the planning system. We look forward to debating these issues with the sector and will be ensuring civic societies across the country shape the quality of housing in the country in 2019 and for years to come.

Building on the success of the Civic Voice Design Awards, Civic Voice, is asking communities to participate in the Government's Building Better, Building Beautiful commission. We want to see more examples, such as St Valentines Close, Winchester coming forward. Winchester residents and the local planning authority collaborated to agree a design framework for a site which has now achieved a high started of design. It demonstrates how collaborative working can enhance the design process. It was successful in being awarded Highly Commended status in the Civic Voice Design Awards. The Civic Voice Design Awards are the people’s choice for architecture and the built environment. It is the only design awards scheme in England which allows communities to celebrate the buildings, places and spaces they love for their high quality design and positive impact on the local community by nominating them for a national award.

We want to hear from civic societies and communities about well-designed housing developments from across the country. This review comes at a vital time, with the country currently divided between wanting to get housing built as quickly as possible and communities demanding quality homes and development. We want to show that through greater public participation in the planning system, we can achieve high quality development, supported by the community.

Join discussions on the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission at meetings in places including:

  • Harrogate 26th January
  • Birmingham 13th February
  • London 27th March
  • Ipswich 30th March
  • Bournemouth 1st April

If you are concerned by the impact of the quality of the nation's housing in your area then let Civic Voice know. Contact us at

Press Coverage

  • - 15 July 2010