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CABE's latest figures - design review numbers drop

The number of schemes submitted to CABE for design review has dropped for the first time in the commission’s 10 year history

According to the design watchdog’s annual report, only 1,068 projects were put forward to be scrutinised by CABE’s review panel – a drop of 11 per cent on the 1203 submitted last year and 132 short of the organisation’s target of 1,200.

The commission is blaming the economic downturn and more specifically the ‘16 per cent drop in the number of planning applications nationally over the year’ for its failure to meet the key goal.

Of the 1,068 submitted, the panel gave formal ‘independent scrutiny’ to 357 schemes – as well as a further 71 reviews of the new Crossrail stations and Building Schools for the Future projects. 

Encouragingly for CABE, the design review ‘miss’ is the only blip in an other wise positive report which revealed that the commission had succeeded in meeting 19 of the 20 government-set targets.

It is the third year in a row that CABE has managed to achieve the majority of its aims and the results continue to wipe away the disappointments of 2006 when the watchdog failed to hit more than a third of its performance targets.

John Sorrell, CABE’s outgoing chair, said: ‘CABE’s performance is measured formally by a series of targets agreed each year by ministers. But we believe that CABE’s success is not captured by meeting targets alone. For us, delivering our mission means bringing energy, innovation and creativity to the process of creating England’s built environment – something hard to measure with simple statistics.’

Elsewhere CABE also complete the ‘delivery of training’ for 170 Building for Life assessors in 105 local authorities, and hosted the first national conference on green infrastructure.

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