[Correction: This article was updated to reflect that Roger Scruton was later reinstated to his position]
On Tuesday, the British housing secretary Robert Jenrick announced a new governmental advisory body meant “to embed beauty and quality” into the country’s planning processes, in the words of a United Kingdom government press release.
The news came on the heels of a series of reforms announced last month meant to streamline planning processes across the U.K. and facilitate new housing construction. Those changes also increased local control of planning projects and required local governments to create their own design codes addressing “beauty, quality and environmental standards.” This new body will apparently help local governments “to produce design codes defining beautiful design.”
What exactly the government means when it uses the word beauty isn’t totally clear, but Jenrick’s announcement that Nicholas Boys Smith will lead the group could indicate what the housing secretary has in mind. Boys Smith was cochair of the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission alongside the late anti-modernist critic Roger Scruton, who lost his position over inflammatory comments on George Soros, Muslims, and Chinese people, but was later reinstated after the interviewing outlet admitted to taking his quotes out of context and apologizing. Boys Smith was also the founding director of the Create Streets organization, which aims “to make it easier to co-create beautiful, sustainable, prosperous, economically and socially successful places with strong local support and which residents will love for generations,” according to its website.