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New director steps up 20th Century Society campaigns

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The Twentieth Century Society is launching a series of new campaigns following the arrival of director Catherine Croft.

Croft, who took up her post last month, is stepping up opposition to plans for Ralph Erskine's Byker Estate in Newcastle and for Milton Keynes town centre, planned by Christopher Woodward in the 1970s. At Byker, plans for a new fire station to be built within the 1969 estate are with the secretary of state after the city council said it was 'minded to approve'. The society claims the proposals will compromise the integrity of the scheme and will adversely affect views of Byker Wall, which has been under consideration for Grade II* listing since 1999. It also criticised the Department of Culture, Media and Sport for the delay in making its decision.

'Post-war council estates still don't receive the appreciation they deserve, ' Croft said. 'Conservationists are still seen as interfering and imposing elitist views on tenants, whereas what we are trying to do is preserve the best for the tenant.'

Croft has also hit out at Milton Keynes Borough Council for its masterplan for the town centre, drawn up with English Partnerships, saying it demonstrates a 'notable lack of foresight'. A detailed scheme being produced by Allies and Morrison in response to the masterplan will extend the shopping building into the boulevards.

The society has written in protest to the borough council claiming the plans will alter the 'heroic scale' of the boulevards and have 'an enormous and irreversible impact on key elements of this idealistic modernist example of planning.'

Other campaigns to be launched in the near future include a battle to the save the Midland Hotel, Morecambe, and a call for the listing of Maiden Lane in London's Camden. The society will also be commenting on Allford Hall Monaghan Morris's Barbican foyers scheme (see page 14).

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