In response to Selina Mason's letter 'Local Authorities must ease pressure on CABE' (AJ 25.05.06), many of us involved with CABE as regional reps have been aware for some time of the pent-up demand for design review that is arising from the regions, let alone London. As chairman of Regeneration East Midlands (REM), I have established a comparable and compatible design review in the region (including the South Midlands Growth Zone), similar to that in the South East. The 30 members, selected by an independent panel, are leaders in regional practices (with some coming from outside the region).
Led by Peter Stewart (ex-secretary of CABE's design review panel), the review ensures responses are insightful, considered and balanced. The panel has run successfully for nearly a year and, although busy, we welcome significant projects, large or small, referred by architects, clients or planning authorities anywhere in the East Midlands. (Projects of national significance can still be referred to the CABE review panel. ) We encourage the local authority's design champion and chair of their planning committee to attend, along with their officer. So far feedback has been positive and several regional bodies are considering using the review panel to appraise the schemes they fund.
Other regions are following suit, and hopefully then there will be sufficient forums to accommodate the increasing demand.
Anyone interested should apply in the first instance to the director of Opun (REM's architecture centre), Janet Currie at janet@regenerationem. co. uk Derek Latham, chairman, Regeneration East Midlands