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Whither CABE?

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You have noted in recent editions of the AJ, that the views of CABE have been ignored by various local planning authorities

You have noted in recent editions of the AJ, that the views of CABE have been ignored by various local planning authorities. Similarly, English Heritage’s comments have also been ignored. So what is the purpose of either organisation, if their comments carry no weight with the planning authorities?

In Bedford, a very sensitive and prominent site on the waterfront is proposed to be developed by a partnership of the Bedford Borough Council and MCD Developments. I do not like the style of the proposed Neo-Classical scheme, Riverside Square, and just look at the mass, the poor proportions and pure height of the building. Yet the public has not been asked to vote on the design.

CABE’s design review panel stated: ‘We do not think the architecture has responded to, or reinforced, the character of Bedford. [We] recommend that this development is not given planning permission... a fundamental rethink is required.’

But CABE’s comments were summarily dismissed by the planning officer, and this building has now received planning approval. If CABE’s comments can be so easily cast aside, then what is the purpose of CABE?

Is the planning system working? We in Bedford are becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of aesthetic appreciation. Are we alone?

Graham Wright, Bedford

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