architectural watchdog CABE has joined forces with the Institute for Public Policy Research, a left-of-centre think tank, to run a design competition for the redevelopment of town halls in Bradford, Stockport, and Letchworth in Hertfordshire.
The two bodies believe that they can use the town centres to demonstrate how good design can be used to get people interested in politics.

Robin Nicholson, a member of CABE's enabling committee and chair of the design jury on the schemes, said: "We're exploring how we can reconnect people to the political process on three different sites."

Nicholson added that the imposing design and bureaucratic look of town halls alienated people from local government.

We’re exploring how to reconnect people to the political process

Robin Nicholson, CABE

IPPR researcher Becky Hatch said that the original idea for the project was Matthew Taylor's, director of the IPPR. Hatch said: "Matthew thought it would be really good to do a project on the design of town halls to make them the centre of civic engagement."