Your coverage of the dcms comprehensive spending review (aj 30.7.98) made very interesting, if disturbing, reading: David Rock and Astragal denying the existence of a network of centres like our own here in Liverpool, Paul Finch's fear of regionalism, and Lord St John of Fawsley's plans for the rfac to become more regional, (so long as its current grant of £700,000 is increased).
Liverpool Architecture and Design Trust is already carrying out all of Lord St John's planned regional activities - developing a wide-ranging education programme, including the establishment of a local youth council on architecture and urban planning, advising on and commissioning public arts, providing strategic studies and co-ordinating other bodies. Our strength lies in the partnerships that we have built which enable us to deliver the projects that provide us with the resources to expand our work rather than expecting or relying on revenue grants.
The dcms is correct in its view that there is an active network of Regional Architecture Centres, and we will be meeting this week to discuss our response to their report. This will be far more positive than any of your contributions to date, and - I am sorry, Astragal - we will encourage the dcms to 'keep banging on' about working with us to achieve our 'potential as catalysts for good design in the regions'.
I agree with the need for a national policy on architecture. Surely this report is a constructive step in that direction. As for what seems to be the editor's plea for the resurrection of the idea of a national architecture centre, it would be far more efficient to put whatever money this would cost into the regional centres, including the two in London.
Director, Liverpool Architecture and Design Trust