Local government architects have attacked the role played by central government in procurement and design in a pre-election document that has been sent to all three major parties.

The Society of Chief Architects of Local Authorities said that unless action was taken there was a danger that the mistakes of the 1960s and 1970s would be repeated, with more ill-conceived housing estates and road schemes.

It emphasised the importance that investment in the environment could have in enhancing quality of life, reducing crime and improving health and education.

It also took the government to task for allowing too many contracts to be allocated on the basis of low cost rather than best value and whole-life costs.

The society also took a swipe at a number of procurement processes, including PFI, for being “hugely complex and expensive”.