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...and presses for firm commitments on design

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Lipton said he and cabe staff have already paid visits to eight government departments and that they had all been 'very supportive and helpful' towards the new body's remit and emerging aims.

This included the Treasury, which was 'encouraging' about putting design high on the agenda.

But to be more effective, cabe aims to try and convince its parent department - Culture, Media and Sport - of its case for more than its current £1.35 million budget. Lipton said that considering that construction represents 10 per cent of the uk's gdp and that good architecture had benefits for crime reduction, education, and health, it was an 'imbalance' that the same department gave £50 million to film people. 'We need to go to £5 million to £10 million a year', he said.

But the main aim of the new body was still to get 'into the bloodstream of the public' by banging the drum for good design, proving that it represents value, becoming 'the place where clients come for advice' on procuring buildings and getting behind a series of demonstration projects over a wide range of building types. Strategic design review will be a key plank - cabe will differ from the rfac in meeting once a month and will aim to look at less London-focused schemes. There will be around 50 strategic projects assessed per year.

cabe has also agreed with English Heritage that eh's nine new regional offices will provide support in identifying new buildings and will coordinate work without duplicating effort.

Other initiatives were also possible for the new body. Lipton cited the Evening Standard/Architecture Foundation London debates of 1996 as valuable ways of involving the public in debating architecture. These could be possible in future in other cities across England, such as Manchester and Liverpool.

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