Prescott exclusivity is a fear for the future
The original regeneration debate backed by the Task Force seems now to be evolving into the Housing of the Future debate with the advent of the London corridor developments. While this is one of a variety of options John Prescott is pursuing for all the wrong reasons, recent reports in your magazine suggest a 'free for all'may occur.
Go French (AJ 30.10.03), The Prince's code and Seaside backed by Prescott despite his more 'wow' and less 'Noddy' (AJ 23.10.03), have caused president George Ferguson to crave clarity (AJ 2.10.03) - a sensible reaction on his part.
As you can imagine, the rush by established architects and developer-associated ones to get going is inevitable.
Having spent my life working in the domestic scene and looking for a way forward, I saw how the '80s in particular floundered with its attempts to provide the public with 'familiar' housing types.
This convinced me that the 'next order' is even less likely to be attained and it will probably be many decades before the public formally accept an architect's view of what they live in, without the intervention of the media, public bodies, the Prince's code and, of course, developers. Thus the public is unlikely to develop an overt opinion of what a domestic building should look like, unless of course those bodies are influenced by architects ultimately.
There is a lot of work to be done in convincing the public to change course, therefore, and Prescott's commitment to fulfil his public's demand is of no help in the circumstances.
Nicky Gavron is absolutely correct in stating that architect elitism, and I assume she is talking about one-offs, can be a pitfall.
The right blend or style for future housing can only come from existing urban areas, which is what the public will understand and accept.
Prescott should not develop his ideals on Seaside or even Poundbury, which are exclusive rather than inclusive.
Rex Hawkesworth, Hilsea, Portsmouth