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Parks and hospitals on agenda in new CABE push

CABE is set to launch both a 'green flags' programme to improve Britain's parks and a MORI poll of nurses to boost healthcare design.

Both initiatives figure as part of the commission's almost-finalised corporate strategy for next year, outlined by chief executive Jon Rouse last week at the MIPIM property conference.

The flags programme will mirror that in place for UK beaches with a series of 'no fewer than eight' indicators to be developed for local authorities to pass, Rouse said. They will range from crime rates to horticultural activity, biodiversity and litter. The new CABESpace wing has taken over the project from the Civic Trust, with funding from the deputy prime minister John Prescott.

The prize for local authorities will be civic pride, but Rouse is keen to link the award of green flags with access to further government funds.

The MORI poll this summer, 'Healthy Hospitals', will gauge the experience of nurses of design in health buildings, while CABE will also push, as a 'huge priority', primary healthcare buildings and schools. The nurses' questionnaire, in collaboration with a nursing magazine, will go out this June.

Rouse plans to make best use of CABE's extra cash allowances and to balance schemes between the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, its sponsoring bodies. Rouse also hopes to recruit a director for CABESpace shortly and to set up a separate steering group; to produce more guidance for new planning statements on PPG4, business development, PPG 17, open space, and PPG6, retail; and support education with more materials for teachers in geography and citizenship on the national syllabus. This last initiative will be launched in May as part of CABE's education foundation, to be set up with £17 million allocated over the next three years, to target teachers and cross-professional skills development.

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