We have no current plans to make the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) a statutory consultee in the planning process. However, my Department intends to consult on a review of statutory consultees later this year, and it will be open to respondents to make a case for change at that time. CABE does however already play an important role as a non-statutory consultee in the planning process.
The Department for Communities and Local Government actively encourages all local planning authorities to consult CABE about significant applications in their areas and our chief planner wrote to all chief planning officers in December 2006 reminding them of the circumstances under which they should seek CABE's advice.
A copy of this letter has been placed in the Library of the House.
Under the existing non-statutory consultation arrangements, we encourage and support CABE to work directly with architects, planners, designers, developers and clients to offer guidance on projects. CABE makes this guidance available in a number of ways, including the provision of a free expert design review service, which offers independent assessment of schemes. Design review considers 350 major development proposals each year, over 80 per cent. of which are altered in light of its comments.
The current arrangements seek to ensure that CABE's resource is directed at influencing the quality of the most significant schemes, which we consider the best use of its capacity and expertise.