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Local-level resurrection for CABE mooted

CABE could be reborn as ‘a more industry led, local partner-based model’, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG)

Yesterday (20 October) it was confirmed the CLG and commission co-funder the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) were pulling their funding for the design watchdog, effectively spelling the end for CABE in its current format.

However a spokesperson for the CLG said: ‘We want to support communities and local partners to take the lead in shaping and designing their own areas. CABE provides local partners and the industry with valuable support to help achieve this.

‘Going forward, we want to work with DCMS and CABE to find new ways of delivering through a more industry led, local partner based model with funding support focused where it is really needed.’

A spokesperson for CABE said the commission had already ‘worked hard with the Government in recent months to create low-cost ways to ensure that people can still get the practical advice and support they need to create a good quality built environment’.

They continued: ‘The quality of housing, schools, streets and parks has a major impact on everyone’s life, every day. Indeed, the quality of your local neighbourhood matters even more in tough economic times. So we are surprised to see that no resources at all can be found from the Culture programme to deliver the Government’s commitment to this area of public life.  

‘CABE is now taking stock of the decision and looking at options to create new ways to support and champion good design.’


Paul Finch, chairman of CABE, said: ‘I would like to pay tribute to the huge efforts made by staff and commissioners over CABE’s first life. We are very proud of our achievements so far, from the high profile design reviews of the Olympic programme to the less well known support to planning teams and developers up and down the country as they try to create places that look good and work well for everyone. I know there are literally thousands of new buildings, parks and streets which are better because of CABE’s support. I believe the reasons for that work remain and will become ever more relevant to the future of this country.’

Readers' comments (2)

  • Surprise! This exists already. We are here now, living, breathing and working very hard in every corner of the UK. Twenty-one of us. We are architecture centres and we transform our local areas working with local people. We advise, educate, inspire about design excellence in the built environment every single day.
    Gisele Bone, Head of Learning at Arc, architecture and built environment centre for Hull and the Humber region.

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  • I second what Gisele says. We too are an architecture centre, Beam, based in Wakefield and we have been doing this work for many years. As well as providing education and training to built environment professionals, we work closely with communities, inspiring them, raising their aspirations and upskilling them so that they can have a real say in their own environment. We enable local authorities to demand excellence in design and we promote the role of the arts in all that we do.

    We have been on the ground successfully delivering programmes funded by CABE in our local and regional areas and we all hope to continue to do so.

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