Battle to take over Cabe’s job hots up as architects claim foundation would be ’entirely inappropriate’

A row has broken out over who will take on the design review function of Cabe, the design watchdog that had its funding cut in last month’s spending review.

The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment and the RIBA have clashed over who should be involved in ensuring the design review process is continued.

Ruth Reed, the RIBA’s president, said the foundation, which supports designs based on creating walkable mixed-use neighbourhoods and is closely linked to the Prince of Wales, was “entirely inappropriate” for a role that demanded “complete impartiality”.

Hank Dittmar, chief executive of the Prince’s Foundation, admitted the organisation was “in favour of allowing communities a voice in design and placemaking”, but criticised the current administration of the process.

“Not everyone would agree that design review has always been provided in an impartial manner,” he said. ” We are surprised the RIBA’s president thinks it is ’entirely inappropriate’ for us to offer a design review service in the open market alongside other bodies, and that it would be wrong for local authorities or developers to use us.

“That seems a highly suspect position for a professional association to take, as they are meant to represent all points of view.”

Dittmar has said he would be pleased for the foundation to be one of a number of organisations able competitively to offer design review services to local authorities.

Meanwhile the RIBA is working with the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Landscape Institute on using the professional bodies to run the system.

RIBA immediate past president Sunand Prasad, said: “It is an absolute tragedy Cabe had its funding withdrawn. The natural thing is for it to continue as an industry body.”