Select Committee on Office of the Deputy Prime Minister: Housing, Planning, Local Government and the Regions Written Evidence

Memorandum by Mrs Clare Barker, Headteacher, Hoyle Early Years Centre Chesham (CAB 21)

  1.  I became involved with CABE as part of the Neighbourhood Nurseries Design Competition which they facilitated for the DFES. The aim of the competition was to create the "nursery of the future". Hoyle is situated in an area of considerable deprivation and the chance to achieve a brand new building with presence was a wonderful opportunity as a headteacher with little knowledge of the world of architecture, building and design I found their involvement a great asset in helping me to find my way through the whole process.

  2.  CABE acted as vehicle for engaging the teams of architects and establishing a panel of experts who then judged the designs submitted. These included Sir Richard Rogers, Sir Nicholas Serota, Sunand Prashad and Margy Whalley. CABE were an effective "sounding board" for all parties involved, providing advice, ideas, encouragement and inspiration.

  3.  Further down the line their involvement helped me to deal with the complexities of the planning system which at one point could have caused the whole project to collapse. Their involvement ensured that the project remained high profile and gave me a very useful and knowledgeable ally.

  4.  Perhaps their most significant input was in terms of ensuring that the highest standards of design and building were implemented to give us a building to be proud of. This has been borne out by the amount of interest shown in the building and the fact that it has won an RIBA regional award. In addition it has been nominated for the Prime Ministers Public Building Award to be announced this month.

  5.  I am sure that without CABE's involvement we would not have achieved the great success we have at Hoyle. The Right Honourable Margaret Hodge opened our new building and was very impressed indeed and commented on this in her address.

  6.  CABE provide a unique contribution within the world of the built environment by acting as drivers for quality, aesthetic appeal and innovative design solutions. I am indebted to them for their support and involvement in the project at Hoyle.

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