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GOOD DESIGN SHOULD JUST BE PART OF THE PLAN

LETTERS

As a town planner I always enjoy reading the AJ, an excellent magazine and far better than Planning!

Regarding your article 'Leaving Design out in the Cold', about the government's response to the Barker Review (AJ 08.12.05). How much more encouragement do architects need to produce creative, high-quality design?

Yvette Cooper was justified in getting irritated by the AJ's question regarding design. There are piles of documents and initiatives from the ODPM, CABE, etc encouraging good design (PPS1, Building for Life, Better Public Buildings, and By Design to name a few) and, as far as I'm aware, no law against it. But isn't good design what architects are supposed to produce? As a development-control planner in a local authority, the quality of design by RIBA chartered architects that I see is, frankly, appalling.

For years I was told to keep my big nose out of design and leave it to the architects who knew best and now find myself getting the blame for poor design because 'the planners' approved it! Can I make a plea to all architects reading this - stop whingeing on and show us what you can do! Start producing the goods day by day, show an understanding of context and character and make my life easier - please!

Paul Baxter, Watford

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