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Cabe criticises town centre plans

Town centre developments including supermarkets will be a “liability” rather than an asset if they are not well designed, the Government’s advisers on architecture have warned.

A review of 30 schemes by leading retailers including Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s found that in many areas they were the only regeneration on offer.

Many schemes merely involved large plain buildings in a big car park, which were unsuitable for town centres, said the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (Cabe).

Chief executive Richard Simmons said: “With local people given real power to decide what gets built and where, it will be even more in the interests of supermarkets to propose good schemes which benefit the area.”

The commission praised Sainsbury’s for a development in Fulham, West London, involving a store being built behind smaller shops and housing to avoid dominating the area.

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