On 14th February 2019 Julia Park wrote:

'Better Design for Better Places’ in Birmingham

I joined about 300 others at MHCLG’s 'Better Design for Better Places’ conference in Birmingham today. Those who were lured by the prospect of hearing live from the Secretary of State and the Housing Minister were disappointed; the latest Brexit vote in the Commons got in the way and neither turned up. Lord Bourne was an acceptable stand–in but not a patch on Guardian Journalist, Gaby Hinsliff, who chaired the day extremely well.

But it was George Clarke who stole the show with a fascinating account of his ‘brilliant childhood' in a northern new town, built in the 1980s – his mum still lives in the same house. He also talked about his latest passion, ‘MOBIE’, and quite rightly criticised the fact that, at 42, he was one of the youngest people at the event.

Slightly weird having the drinks reception the evening before, but at least it got the interview with Roger Scruton out of the way. Talking to Gaby afterwards, she was obviously as bemused as the rest of us that he’s chairing the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission. Oh well.