Quarry Forum: Building Better. Building Beautiful. Building with stone.

The Quarry Forum is one of Stone Federation Great Britain’s sector focus groups. Here the Group says the way to ‘build better, build beautiful’ is to build with stone.

In November 2018, the Government announced a new commission, called Building Better Building Beautiful, that would advise 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 would help ensure housing developments met the needs and expectations of communities, making them more likely to be welcomed, rather than resisted, by existing communities. The new buildings would meet social and aesthetic requirements as well as being zero carbon ready.

In January last year the Building Better Building Beautiful Commission published its final report – Living with Beauty – which set out its recommendations.

One of the key themes found throughout the report is the link between unique, beautiful local architecture and the use of high-quality and often local materials. Natural stone and the part it plays in creating some of the country’s most iconic and attractive architectural styles is mentioned a number of times in the report.

Following the Commission’s recommendations, the Government has proposed a series of changes to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), as well as creating a National Model Design Code, which is the framework that local authorities will use to create their own Local Design Codes.

These Local Design Codes will ensure that all new buildings within an area “relate to the architectural character and materials of the surrounding area”. 

Great Britain has a long and proud tradition of using indigenous natural stone to shape the built environment of its cities, towns and villages – the streets of London paved not with gold but Yorkstone, granite and sometimes limestone, the granite-paving of the streets and ashlar of the tenements of Aberdeen, the Clipsham rich college buildings of Oxford, the limestone of the Cotswolds, the slate and granite of Cornwall and Wales and the sandstones from Sussex to Glasgow.

There are so many examples of stone defining the landscapes and architecture, from humble cottages to the mansions of the aristocracy and the ecclesiastical buildings that brought the communities together. Even the dry stone walls that delineate fields.

Stone Federation has lately been working with local authorities to aid their understanding of how natural stone can help them deliver high-quality, beautiful developments that sit well alongside existing local architecture.

The Federation and its Quarry Forum is hosting another seminar for local authorities this autumn. Anyone working for a local authority who would like to attend, email [email protected] to request more infomation. Any stone companies that would like to make their local authorities aware of the event, please do so.