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Blueprint for city futures

Developer sacks HTA in Millennium Village chaos

The lead architect on the Greenwich Millennium Village, one of the case study projects for design process and procurement in the Urban Task Force report, has been sacked from the project, following a disagreement with the client, led by Task Force member Alan Cherry.

The disagreement was over the way the project is being run and a 'steady process of attrition whittling away construction and sustainability targets, prefabrication proposals and the social and community vision'. Ben Derbyshire, director of HTA Architects (formerly Hunt Thompson Associates) has written to architecture champion Stuart Lipton, who was chairman of the panel of judges in the original competition, saying 'there was no champion and the project became a routine residential development.'

On 20 May Hunt Thompson wrote to the client, Greenwich Millennium Village - a joint venture between developers Taywood Homes and Countryside Properties, chaired by Countryside chairman Cherry - expressing its concerns and making suggestions. It received no response: 'In the meantime, we were forced to suspend our team, and finally we set today [28 June] as a deadline for disbanding it altogether. We have today received a letter from the client terminating our appointment.' Derbyshire told the aj: 'We are profoundly disappointed. This was a demonstration project. What are they demonstrating?'

Greenwich Millennium Village has issued a statement saying 'It is ill- advised, if not unprofessional , that hta have chosen to publicise a version of the background to our decision. Suffice it to say we repudiate their arguments and conclusion.' It says the project will not be affected and that the joint-venture members 'will all continue to work within the overall masterplan and design guidelines established by Ralph Erskine.' Erskine has confirmed his continuing support and involvement.

Alan Cherry said, 'We haven't deviated from the objectives and targets. We are as intent as ever on meeting those targets.' He said that there was no intention to appoint another architect as a direct replacement.

Greenwich Millennium Village plans to start marketing homes at the end of this year. Proctor Matthews is working on the project for Countryside, and epr is understood to be working for Taywood Homes. John Prescott appeared ignorant of the news, however, telling 1000 people at the Task Force launch that he visited the site last week and was eagerly awaiting the 'modern sustainable housing'. 'That's the vision I want to see transferred to Britain as a whole' he said.

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