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Election swing threatens King Alfred competition

Brighton and Hove City Council's local election result is threatening its King Alfred competition, which sees US heavyweight Frank Gehry pitted against double Stirling Prize winner Wilkinson Eyre Architects. The swing from a Labour majority to a hung council will give opponents of the scheme - for a housing development and leisure centre in Hove - a powerful voice on the council. Gehry and Wilkinson Eyre are the remaining shortlisted practices, after Richard Rogers Partnership's scheme was thrown out in April.

The competition's backers fear the Conservatives, the second-largest party, and the Greens, which hold the balance of power, will be able to force them to scrap the project. Conservative group regeneration spokesman David Smith said many councillors in his party want to see the competition dropped. 'Both schemes over-work the site, especially the Gehry designs, which are the current favourites, ' he told the AJ. 'We do not like the idea of his 38-storey towers on this site.'

And the Green Party, which has six councillors, wants the competition killed off unless the developer accepts a 60 per cent level of affordable housing.

Former planning committee chair Chris Morley, a vociferous supporter of the competition, admitted the election result had put the competition in jeopardy. He said: 'What the Conservatives want to consider is whether they want to go down in history as the people who turned down a great leisure centre and a great development for the city.'

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