Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission

The commission was an independent body that advised government on how to promote and increase the use of high-quality design for new build homes and neighbourhoods.

The Commission was responsible for developing practical measures that will help ensure new housing developments meet the needs and expectations of communities, making them more likely to be welcomed, rather than resisted, by existing communities.

The commission had 3 primary aims:

  1. To promote better design and style of homes, villages, towns and high streets, to reflect what communities want, building on the knowledge and tradition of what they know works for their area.
  2. To explore how new settlements can be developed with greater community consent.
  3. To make the planning system work in support of better design and style, not against it.

The Terms of Reference (PDF, 175KB, 2 pages) sets out the commission’s responsibilities and ways of working.


The Commission published its final report – Living with beauty – on 30 January 2020. This sets out the Commission’s recommendations to government.

The government published its response to the Living with Beauty report on 30 January 2021.

The Commission’s interim report – Creating space for beauty – was published on 9 July 2019.


The following research has been carried out on behalf of the Commission, and the findings have informed the recommendations in their report. These reports have been prepared by the consultant authors and they do not necessarily represent the views or policies of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Research carried out by Knight Frank:


  • Co-chair: Sir Roger Scruton*
  • Co-chair: Nicholas Boys Smith

  • Mary Parsons
  • Gail Mayhew
  • Adrian Penfold OBE

*Sir Roger passed away on Sunday 12 January 2020 following a period of illness.

Specialist advisers

  • Stephen Stone, Executive Chairman of Crest Nicholson
  • Sunand Prasad, Senior Partner and co-founder of Penoyre & Prasad and past President of the Royal Institute of British Architects
  • Ben Bolgar, Senior Director of Prince’s Foundation
  • Dame Fiona Reynolds DBE, Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge
  • Peter Studdert, Chair of Quality Review Panels for the London Legacy Development Corporation and the London Borough of Haringey
  • Paul Monaghan, Director of AHMM and Design Council Trustee
  • Yolande Barnes, Professor of Real Estate at University College London
  • Euan Mills, Head of Digital Planning at Connected Places Catapult
  • Andrew Cameron, Director of Andrew Cameron & Associates