Terry Farrell & Partners has pulled out of its £75 million Swiss Cottage scheme, claiming it has been sidelined by developers. The practice said it would have 'no further association' with the north London project, after negotiations with developers Barratt and Dawney Day broke down irrevocably. The moves to reduce its role within the project were against the initial agreement, it said.
The news has sparked fears of 'dumbing down' of the controversial scheme, which survived a judicial review to receive final planning approval in February (AJ 28.2.02).
Chair of the London Borough of Camden's development control committee Brian Woodrow said he was 'deeply concerned' about the news.
'Using well known architects just to get planning permission is something that does worry us, ' he said.
Although retention of Terry Farrell & Partners was not made a condition of the planning approval, Barratt is legally required to consult Camden - its joint developer - over any change of designer. However, since the architect resigned, this agreement was not been breached. The borough said it was hoping to work with both parties to try to resolve the issue.
Sir Terry Farrell said he was 'very disappointed' by the outcome, in light of the amount of work he had already put in. However, he said: 'I feel I am unable to proceed on the basis which is proposed as prominent sites require that the designer sees the scheme through to its conclusion. I cannot be sure that the final design would be one for which it could be authentically said was by our firm.'
A spokesman for Barratt, which learnt indirectly of Sir Terry Farrell's intention to quit, said: 'We are very surprised and disappointed to learn that the architects have unilaterally chosen to leave the project at this stage without notification to any of the joint developers.' And she said the move followed discussions with all members of the project team 'to talk about ways to take the project forward'.
The scheme includes 'Visage', a 16-storey glass apartment building comprising 131 flats, a 7,100m 2sports and leisure complex with a further 22 flats on top, 19 homes for rental, a community centre and doctor's surgery.