CABE and English Heritage under threat by the spending cut

1 min read

Author: Cyril Richert
Following the government’s spending review on Wednesday 20th October (see our article here and find more analysis on the BBC website), the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt) made a statement explaining his strategy, in view of the 25% cut in his budget.
Listing a series of measures, he said:

Finally with great regret I have also taken the decision to withdraw funding from the Commission for Architecture and Built Environment (CABE).

Later in a paragraph named “Safeguarding our heritage” he said:

We are, however, demanding significant efficiencies and as with other major bodies we are insisting that English Heritage reduces its administration budgets by 50 per cent over the Spending Review period and cuts back on non-essential services.
We want English Heritage to prioritise core activities such as planning advice, grants for heritage at risk and the conservation and maintenance of sites in its care.   We also want them to strengthen their fundraising capacity and increase self-generated income.

The news for CABE will come as no surprise if you remember our article last July where we announced that CABE was 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.
Clearly they did not manage to persuade the government and became another victim of the budget cut. They might be looking for other funding, including the possibility of being funded by local authorities or even charging developers for design review. However, this has raised doubts over whether the review could remain objective and whether developers might decide to opt out of entirely.

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CJI editor and Clapham Junction Action Group co-founder and coordinator since 2008, Cyril has lived in Clapham Junction since 2001.
He is also funder and CEO of Habilis-Digital Ltd, a digital agency creating and managing websites and Internet solutions.


  1. Requiescat in pace
    Such organisations were hugely expensive and full of time servers pontificating about things they could not actually do themselves. Assuming that local authorities have the proper staff ( and that is a big question) the system will work better without CABE. CABE applied a sort of architecture acceptable to just them and unfortunately their tick box legacy will be around for a long time.. Good riddance.

  2. David> I know you are not a big fan of CABE to say the least (maybe also because they criticised some of your projects?). But I think there are reasons to worry with the clear wish to diminish (or even suppress) the role of the two main British actors (English Heritage and CABE) in local planning review and criticism.
    Isn’t it a bit cynical to call that “Safeguarding our heritage”?

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