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A letter from the prime minister

Gordon Brown
16 September 2009

A letter from the prime minister, Gordon Brown, to Sir John Sorrell on CABE's 10th anniversary on 16 September 2009.

Dear John,

I am sorry I cannot be there in person to congratulate and thank CABE for the work it has done over the past decade. Prior commitments mean I have to be elsewhere. But I wanted you to know how much I appreciate the immense contribution CABE has made to the improvement in the quality of Britain's built environment that we have seen over the last ten years.

From your housing audits, which were instrumental in putting design quality on the agenda of decision makers, to your championing of wider public space; from your promotion of sustainability before others discovered it, to your wonderful work with young people; from your bias to collaboration, to your willingness to criticise where you felt it necessary, CABE has been an exemplar of professional excellence, creativity and independence.

I know that many of those who carry out CABE's work do so for much below the rate they would be able to command in the open market. So I want you - and them - to know how much we value their time, and their commitment to the public good. England's towns and cities, schools and hospitals, homes and neighbourhoods are so much the better for their work.

I would especially like to thank you, John, for the personal leadership you have provided as Chair during the four years of your stewardship - another aspect of your inspiring contribution to the British design industry and to public life over many years.

So I would be grateful if you would pass on my congratulations and thanks to everyone involved with CABE at your Anniversary celebration, for all your hard work and achievements.

Yours sincerely,

Gordon Brown