CABE to design review proposed eco-towns

10 November 2009

CABE has set up a dedicated design review panel to provide expert advice on the quality of designs for the government’s proposed eco-towns.

Great Bow Yard housing scheme

Great Bow Yard housing scheme. Photo by Richard Mullane.

The panel will review the proposals for: Whitehill-Bordon in Hampshire; Rackheath in Norfolk; North-West Bicester in Oxfordshire; and St Austell in Cornwall.

The specialist panel brings together a vast wealth of experience to comment on the specific issues involved in eco-town designs. It will be chaired by Sunand Prasad, former RIBA president, with CABE commissioner and landscape architect Richard Cass as vice chair.

Sunand Prasad, chair of the panel, comments: “The eco-town programme is all about learning - trying out sustainable, low carbon planning and design solutions that are more difficult and time consuming to try out in heavily constrained existing settlements. The point of this learning is to find solutions that can be applied widely. A successful eco-town will be a place where people want to live, not just one that ticks the boxes.”

Other members include: Chris Twinn, director at Arup and co-founder of the company’s sustainability group in building engineering; Bill Gething of Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios; Peter Studdert, director of joint planning at South Cambridgeshire District Council; masterplanner and urban designer Jon Rowland; and architect Gerard Maccreanor of Maccreanor Lavington.

If they can convince this array of experts, they should stand every chance of achieving their aims when finally developed.
Diane Haigh, director of architecture and design review at CABE

Diane Haigh, director of design review at CABE, thinks it is in the public interest that these schemes should be reviewed by CABE’s independent panel. “If they can convince this array of experts, they should stand every chance of achieving their aims when finally developed.”

Working with Communities and Local Government (CLG) and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), the reviews will be part of CABE’s national design review programme.

CABE and BioRegional produced joint guidance in September last year. What makes an eco-town? was inspired by the Challenge Panel and sets out the principles for the agencies involved in developing proposals.