CABE at 10 needs new list of priorities

‘Cuts’ is this week’s buzzword. Gordon Brown, George Osborne and Vince Cable are queuing up at long last to get stuck into public sector waste

By Giles Barrie

So where does that leave the Commission for Architecture and Built Environment (CABE), which celebrated its 10th anniversary this week?

CABE got off to a flying start under developer Sir Stuart Lipton, acting as a more educated version of predecessor the Royal Fine Art Commission.

With almost guerrilla tactics it would swoop on poor design, and it played a key role in ensuring that projects such as Grosvenor’s Liverpool One eventually became regeneration exemplars across the globe.

But Lipton’s controversial departure, after he was unfairly hauled into a row over alleged conflicts of interest, appeared to the property industry to usher in a more cautious – and, some would say, bloated – CABE.

To see how it has spread, read on its website: ‘Warrior Princess – an interview with Majora Carter, activist and founder of Sustainable South Bronx, a non-profit environmental justice organisation’. She spoke at the ParkCity conference, which CABE co-hosted with Natural England in March.

The good news is that the incoming chairman of CABE, Paul Finch, led its forensic design review panel 10 years ago in the commission’s formative days. His priority now should be a review of the range of fields into which CABE has strayed. (Giles Barrie, Property Week)


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