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CABE pulls UK out of Europan 10

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No suitable sites for UK's Europan 10 bid, says design watchdog

CABE has decide to withdraw the UK from Europan 10 due to a lack of suitable sites.

The commission, which has been trying to turn around the UK’s disastrous involvement with the Europe-wide housing design competition in Britain, admitted only two possible plots in the UK had emerged despite ‘an intensive two-month search’.

A CABE spokesman said that the level of interest had been significantly down on previous years and ‘whilst these [two] were interesting proposals…the sites did not offer enough scope to proceed’.

The move is the latest setback for Europan in the UK. The country has had a notoriously unproductive 14-year-long ‘flirtation’ with the biennial competition. In recent years some of the country’s up-and-coming talent such as Witherford Watson Mann (Europan 6 and 8), Loop Architecture (Europan 8) and Tom Russell (Europan 9) have all won potentially groundbreaking Europan-backed schemes in the UK.

But despite CABE’s five-year involvement, none of the projects have yet been delivered and only Witherford Watson Mann’s has managed to achieve outline planning permission.

Richard Simmons, CABE’s chief executive, said: ‘While this is very disappointing, it is not surprising given the scale of the housing-market downturn.

‘It is a great pity that sites could not be found within the timetable governed by Europan.

He added: ‘We believe that design competitions are an excellent route to improve housing quality, and CABE is actively continuing its support for them.’

British-based architect will still be entitled to enter contests elsewhere in Europe.

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