Author: Cyril Richert
According to Building Design, CABE (Commission on Architecture and the Built Environment, the government’s advisor on architecture and the urban environment which took over from the Royal Fine Art Commission in 1999) might become another victim of the government’s budget cuts.
The government’s body has to be consulted over significant planning applications. But they could face difficulties to do so, given the Coalition’s plans for decentralisation of responsibility for quality of design and the cuts in funding for CABE ; as a consequence, they face tough review in the way they finance their operations, and they even consider the possibility of charging developers for design review.
The article of http://www.bdonline.co.uk says:
“The news coincided with growing evidence that planning rules and regulations will be rolled back by the coalition, including the need for planning permission on housing schemes overwhelmingly backed by the public.
Against the backdrop of a so-called “bonfire of the quangos” and ahead of this autumn’s Comprehensive Spending Review, Cabe has been asked by the Treasury to justify all its functions and examine whether the cost of these to the public purse can be reduced or eliminated.
Discussions are being held on whether design review – seen as one of Cabe’s biggest achievements since being founded in 1999 – could be funded through a “subscription” fee paid by local authorities or even by developers themselves.
This has raised doubts over whether the review could remain objective and whether developers might decide to opt out of entirely.
“Design review is not compulsory and some developers may be more than pleased to skip it to avoid larger bills,” former architecture minister and Labour peer Alan Howarth told BD.
[…] On Tuesday, housing minister Grant Shapps gave more details of the localism agenda including plans to create new Local Housing Trusts, which would develop housing largely outside the planning system and would keep profits for use by the local community.
He said: “LHTs will have to show that they have the overwhelming backing from people living in the area and they will need to meet some basic planning criteria to make their proposals sound.
“But essentially I want communities to have the freedom to decide on the type and quality of housing without external restrictions imposed by a centralised planning system.”“