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BISHOP TARGETS 'TROPHY' SCHEMES

NEWS

The new director of the Greater London Authority's Design for London unit has said he will no longer tolerate what has become known as 'trophy architecture'.

Peter Bishop, who was director of planning at Camden Council until the end of last year, said he would instruct the London Development Agency (LDA) and Transport for London (TfL) to ban the practice.

'Trophy architecture' occurs when a developer employs a high-profile design-led firm up to the stage of winning planning permission and then replaces the office in favour of a cheaper option.

Speaking at the AJ100 Breakfast Club last week, Bishop said killing off trophy architecture would be one of his first moves in his new role.

'Design for London will sign off everything that the LDA does, ' he said. 'From now on the LDA will not countenance a good architect being brought in to win planning and then being replaced with some jobbing architect.

'We really want to embed architecture and good design into everything that the LDA does. I will make sure that the same policy counts for TfL as well, ' he added.

Bishop, who is in the process of organising his new unit, said neither the LDA nor TfL would accept trophy architecture on any schemes that they supported, commissioned or backed. Both of the vast quangos commission and work on huge numbers of projects across the capital. They are, as a result, hugely inuential on the wider construction industry.

This pronouncement will be welcomed by most major architects, many of whom will have been on the receiving end of the problem and will have seen their schemes suffer after being dumped.

Unsurprisingly, Bishop's comments were also welcomed by RIBA president Jack Pringle, who said it was a major step in the right direction.

'I have not heard about this happening before so this move is very welcome - it underlines a commitment to good design, ' Pringle said. 'So often we've seen a design commitment worn as if it were on the sleeve so this is definitely welcome.'

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