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Hardly 'irresponsible', but sorry to offend


David Keirle accuses me of being 'highly irresponsible', and worse, in his letter defending his West Pier scheme at Brighton (AJ 30.1.03).

I understand his frustration as the commissioned architect, and am sorry to have caused any offence, but I shall always claim a right to state a robust point of view when questioned about architectural and heritage issues that are in the public arena. I shall no doubt offend again.

As it happens I was only contacted by two people objecting to my stance: one delightful trustee of the West Pier Trust, and an extremely angry Keirle, who has sadly ignored my invitation to meet. I have received much favourable response from architects and others, including those, like me, involved with historic building work. I can never really know if I was right, but the AJ poll indicated an unbelievable level of 99 per cent agreement with my stance, that would put Saddam Hussein to shame!

Whatever our disagreements, it is vital that we respect each others' opinions, and do not use these pages to imply inferior motives of our fellow professionals. I respect Keirle's persistence and passion and can only hope he will eventually come to appreciate that I do 'engage my brain'.

George Ferguson, RIBA president-elect

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