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Row over Prince's Foundation move

The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment has hit out at suggestions that it is ‘inappropriately placed’ to take on the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment’s (CABE) design review duties.

RIBA president Ruth Reed said that if CABE is officially axed through the loss of Department for Culture, Media and Sport funding, the foundation should not take on its powers because it would not be completely impartial.

She said: “Design review is one of the most important aspects of CABE’s role, and is a way of helping clients and local communities achieve better buildings.

“The integrity of the process must be maintained, and therefore it should continue to be delivered independently. It is something that the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) continues to explore with the government.”

But Hank Dittmar, chief executive for the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, said: “Not everyone would agree that design review has always been provided in an impartial manner. The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment openly discloses its principles.

‘We are slanted in favour of design that serves walkable mixed use communities, and in favour of allowing communities a voice in design and placemaking.

“We are surprised that the RIBA’s President thinks that is ‘entirely inappropriate’ for The Prince’s Foundation to offer a design review service in the open market alongside other bodies, and that it would be wrong for local authorities or developers to choose to retain The Prince’s Foundation.

“That seems a highly suspect position for a professional association to take, as they are meant to represent all points of view.”

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