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Open-City aims to take over CABE enabling

Open-City is mobilising to take over the enabling work previously carried out by CABE

The non-profit organisation has already appointed two former CABE employees, former enabling advisor Richard Crutchley and architect Dominic O’Neill, as joint heads of advocacy and enabling.

The ‘Open House London’ organiser is also pitching for a slice of a £3 million ‘community engagement’ grant from the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG), which is roughly equivalent to the savings made from axing CABE.

The organisation could get almost £1 million of the CLG’s cash within the next two months as part of a joint bid with Civic Voice and the previously CABE-funded Architecture Centre Network.

For enabling, Open-City would focus on London while Civic Voice and the architecture centres would cover the rest of the country.

Victoria Thornton, Open-City director (pictured), said: ‘We have always been enabling at a local level [and now] government policy is catching up. We’re capacity building so we can be at the centre of [the Localism agenda].’

Thornton played down the potential for conflict with existing advocacy and enabling providers but said: ‘People recognise us for the work we do whereas they wouldn’t necessarily know about CABE or Design for London.’

O’Neill said: ‘If we take the positive lessons of the CABE Enablers programme and apply them locally, hopefully we can share the success.’

Paul Finch, CABE chair, added: ‘I’m delighted that other organisations are following the example that CABE set.’

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