Mary Parsons, our Executive Director of Placemaking and Regeneration, has been announced as one of four new commissioners for the Government’s Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission. Mary will take on the role alongside her role at Places for People as well as Chair and Trustee of the Town and Country Planning Association.

About the Commission

Established at the start of this year, the Commission will advise the Government by developing practical measures to ensure new housing developments meet the needs and expectations of communities, making them more likely to be welcomed rather than resisted.

The four new Commissioners joining the Chair of the Commission Sir Roger Scruton are:

  • Ms Gail Mayhew – A property consultant with experience in regeneration and place making. Ms Mayhew is currently advising Urban Catalyst in the regeneration of Purfleet in Thurrock. She is an advocate of community engagement in the planning process, assisting groups to change the design of major proposals to better reflect and fit in with their surroundings.
  • Ms Mary Parsons – Currently the Chair and a trustee of the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA), Ms Parsons has over twenty-five years’ experience working in the development and construction sector and is a Group Director of Places for People. Developments she is presently responsible for include a 10,000 home new community at Gilston in Hertfordshire, two new neighbourhoods on the Olympic Park and a new urban neighbourhood in Birmingham.
  • Mr Nicholas Boys Smith – The founding director of Create Streets, which was set up to promote high density, beautiful, street-based developments that involve the community. Mr Boys Smith has also led urban design projects and studies into the build environment, publishing a number of influential books on the role of design and architecture.
  • Mr Kim Wilkie – A renowned landscape architect and environmental planner, Mr Wilkie has sat on several bodies advising on design and beauty – including the Mayor of London’s Public Realm Advisory Group and the Royal Parks Advisory Board. He also holds an Honorary Fellowship at the Royal Institute of British Architects and is currently leading the redesign of the Natural History Museum’s historic grounds.
    Experienced parliamentarian Sir John Hayes MP will also support the Commission, adding valuable insight from his decades of service as a Member of Parliament and former Government Minister.

An additional nine specialist advisors will also assist during the work.

Communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said: “This Commission will play a crucial role in ensuring the homes communities need are built, accepted and loved by those who live in and near them. I’m delighted Sir Roger is being joined by such a talented team of highly-respected professionals, along with a list of distinguished advisors who will bring a wealth of expertise and a range of viewpoints.”

Meeting once a month, the Commission will report back in due course once it has taken evidence and formulated its recommendations on how the Government can improve the quality of new homes.

Together we are breathing new life into the former dockyard.

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