New focus for design says Heritage minister

Design, architecture and strategic planning are of “key importance” to London’s future, Heritage minister Mark Fisher said last week.

Speaking at the English Heritage conference, London: Planning Change in a World City, Fisher added: “The challenge is to find a balance between preserving [London’s] valued historic townscape and giving creative architecture its head.”

He stressed that the Government is committed to establishing a new London authority to provide a strategic overview. “We want to draw on the best design advice for our public buildings, to demonstrate that good design saves money over the life of a building,” he says.

The Department of Culture and Communications is one of the new names under consideration for the Department of National Heritage. A department spokeswoman confirms a change in title is planned to better “reflect the new focus of the Labour Government in the function of the department”. No designers have yet been appointed to create the logo.

Meanwhile reports that Terence Conran is to be given a Government role have been exaggerated, says a spokesman for the designer and restaurateur.

The Department of Heritage confirms talks have taken place between Mark Fisher, Conran, and a number of “key architects” over design and architectural issues.

Any appointment is likely to be informal, rather than as a salaried special adviser.

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