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Design Council welcomes architecture portfolio switch

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The Design Council has welcomed the ‘promotion’ of ministerial responsibility for architecture from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)

However the design watchdog has demanded that any new government appoints a minister with a brief for both planning and housing and that the minister should be given a seat in cabinet.

The transfer, which will see architecture policy shift from Ed Vaizey’s department to sit alongside housing, planning and sustainability, was confirmed in a written statement made by prime minister David Cameron last week (26 March).

Sources claim the change is a result, in part, of last year’s Farrell Review and will see design move higher up the government agenda.

Design Council described the changes as a positive move and a victory in its mission to promote high-quality design in the built environment.

Clare Devine, director of architecture and the built environment at Design Council, said: ‘Given that the department already looks after the means to deliver good quality places – the planning system, local government finance and the Community Rights programmes – it is a positive move to bring these together.’

Devine added that she hoped the move would mean the delivery of high-quality places becomes more important across government.

‘We urge any incoming government to ensure the minister for planning and housing, with this new brief, has a seat in cabinet,’ she said.

The RIBA, which has campaigned to have the architecture remit moved, has also welcomed the switch.

Farrell and ed Vaizey

Terry Farrell with former architecture minister Ed Vaizey

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