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CABE accused of coming up short in tall buildings debate

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Anti-skyscraper campaigner Tony Tugnutt has accused CABE of being unaccountable and lacking the expertise to advise on tall buildings. The former Corporation of London planner told a government select committee that CABE could not be relied upon for objective advice on tall buildings. And he called for members of the design review committee to declare their property development interests.

Tugnutt, who lined up with English Heritage against CABE at the Heron Tower Inquiry, said:

'CABE meetings are not open to the public and local communities are not able to voice their opinions. Its design review committee can hardly be regarded as providing a balanced view in the context of current policies as set out in PPGs 1 and 15.'

Tugnutt made his criticisms at the second session of the urban affairs subcommittee inquiry into tall buildings on Tuesday (AJ 24.01.02). The Chelsea Society, which also presented evidence, joined the attack, accusing CABE of following architectural fashion.

A spokesperson for CABE denied Tugnutt's claims. A strict system operated whereby commissioners and committee members are required to declare conflicts of interest and are excluded from proceedings where one exists. 'We are publicly accountable and open to scrutiny on this question, ' she said, adding that CABE had recently been appointed advisor to the DCMS on post-war listings, 'which would imply a certain level of expertise'.

Bristol and Birmingham city councils and London mayor Ken Livingstone also appeared on Tuesday. The inquiry runs until 12 February.

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