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Building Design (Matthew-Skillington Report)

Volume 887: debated on Tuesday 4 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is now able to state his intentions with regard to the Matthew-Skillington Report on standards of design in his Department.

I should like to express my gratitude to Sir Robert Matthew and Mr. Skillington for their lucid and stimulating report; and to thank the many professional institutions and other bodies who submitted valuable comments on it. In the Property Services Agency I have created a post of Director General of Design Services, and appointed to it an architect who will be of Deputy Secretary rank. He will take charge of a new design office responsible for a significant, but representative, range of the agency's design work, and will thus be in a position gradually to assume a leading rĂ´le in encouraging the high standards of design which it is one of the PSA's aims to foster. I am also setting up an Environmental Board, with members qualified in the main architectural, planning and constructional disciplines, drawn both from within my Department, local government and the private sector, to consider issues concerning the standards obtaining in, and envisaged for, the built environment; one of its first, and major concerns will be the environmental implications of the Government's policies in relation to development land.These measures will, I believe, form a sound basis on which to counter the defi- ciencies identified in the Matthew-Skillington report. I have today written to Sir Robert Matthew explaining my intentions in detail, and I am making the text of my letter available in full to the main institutions and Press. A copy of the letter will be put in the Library of the House.