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Design review hit as CABE suffers 20% cut

The department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) has confirmed it is cutting CABE’s budget by 20 per cent - a loss of £1.3 million

The ‘in-year cut’, which is in addition to the three per cent drop in funding announced by co-sponsor Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) back in May, will impact on design review, enabling support for public space projects and the amount of money the commission can give to Architecture and Built Environment Centres (ABEC).

A spokesman confirmed the design watchdog would be trimming the number of design reviews in the next 12 months by 50 - meaning a drop from the 324 reviewed in 2009/2010 to nearer 270.

Matt Bell, director of education and external affairs, at CABE said: ‘[The cuts] were there or thereabouts [in terms of what we expected].

‘They are certainly significant.’

He added that although ‘in the short term’ CABE would not be perceived as visibly shrinking in size or output, the cuts would ‘definitely have an impact’ for those seeking design review or enabling services.

Result of the cuts:

  • Running 50 fewer design reviews this year 
  • Complete pay freeze for staff 
  • Reduction in grant funding of ABECs for this year
  • Less enabling of public space projects 
  • Significant cut in training and strategic advice to local authorities

Meanwhile sources close to CABE have played down speculation that the commission is set to become a super quango with English Heritage.It is not the first time rumours about a merger have emerged - though it is understood the move is still thought to be unlikely.

CABE data

Overall, 1,019 schemes were submitted to the CABE design review panel in 2009/10, compared to 1,068 in 2008/09


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