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Modernism ban set to hit 'deeply unimaginative' new Urban Village

A 'ban on Modernism' will dictate all the designs in a new Urban Village developed for the Bournville Trust, the AJ has learnt.

The design code, explicitly rejecting Modernist schemes, will govern which projects will be allowed to proceed on the Lightmoor Village site and which will be rejected.

The Prince's Foundation-backed project - for an 800-home settlement just outside Birmingham, masterplanned by Tibbalds TM 2- won outline planning permission last week.

But it has already come under fire from leading figures in architecture and urban design, who dismissed it as 'deeply unimaginative'.

The Bournville Trust's director of estates, Alan Shrimpton, told the AJ that all the project's housing would 'have to be in the Shropshire vernacular'. 'Anything Modernist would stand out like a sore thumb and would not fit in with our plans, ' he said. 'The effect of our policy will be like a ban on Modernism.'

'We approve of the Prince's Foundation's policies at Poundbury and many people like to live in these places, ' Shrimpton added.

However, Piers Gough attacked the decision, describing the likely outcome of the proposals as 'sickly, cloying and downright creepy'. 'I do not believe that these sort of proposals suit modern-day people, ' he said. 'If you start with this sort of proposition you will end up with something between Poundbury and Port Sunlight.

'I love looking at these kinds of development from a historical context, but whether they are a good model for modern-day living is another question altogether, 'Gough added.

And the Urban Design Group's director Rob Cowan 'largely agreed'. 'By attempting to pick parts of an older vernacular you are effectively creating a new style altogether, ' he said. 'So why not pick a proper Modernist style that is suitable? It can be dangerous for a development to simply pick a vernacular style and try to stick to it.'

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