Getting the public involved in architecture and design issues is a pivotal part of CABE's work.
One way we achieve this is by supporting 16 Architecture and Built Environment Centres. This programme was set up in 2002 and provides £1.78 million to the network. That funding has helped it expand rapidly, so that collectively their geographical reach is about 25 per cent of the English population.
The news that CUBE in Manchester will close is therefore a setback. But there is no truth in reports that CABE has 'fallen out' with CUBE or that we have not supported the centre. We have been making a grant of £50,000 a year and, had it not been for its imminent closure, would have been providing the same funding for the new financial year.
CUBE's closure is related to a historic debt that neither CABE nor the Arts Council nor the Department for Culture could do anything about, because it would have been considered wrong to use public funds to clear up a past problem of this sort.
It is also important to stress that this is not the end of the story. Over the past few months we have been working with RENEW, the regional centre of excellence for the north-west, on an options study that will help funders make informed and realistic decisions about the way forward for an architecture centre in Greater Manchester. We are sure there is a need for one.
And CABE will be working hard to ensure that whatever emerges after CUBE will thrive.
Richard Simmons, chief executive, CABE