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Prince and Prescott look east

Prince Charles' theories on urbanism are set to be the driving force behind the massive Thames Gateway housebuilding programme, John Prescott has revealed.

Speaking at a Prince's Foundation conference last week, the deputy prime minister paid tribute to the prince for the contribution of Poundbury, while also praising Seaside, the controversial development in Florida.

In an aside, Prescott launched a searing attack on the architectural profession for its attitudes to such schemes. 'Poundbury is unique, ' he told the delegates. 'And I do know that some of our leading architects have criticised it.

'But I also know that it was these architects who gave awards to the concrete monstrosities that were built as homes for people but which gained an international bad name as the setting for films like A Clockwork Orange, ' he said in a reference to Thamesmead.

He said that his department would be working with the prince to develop 'Community Coding' - a form of design codes - for the Thames Gateway that would learn 'the many lessons from Poundbury and Seaside'.

Prince Charles said he was pleased to be influencing government thinking.

'The deputy prime minister has made the inescapable connection between sustainable communities and the enduring qualities of the best, people-centred places, ' he said.

'I like to think it may just be possible that his visit to Poundbury, exactly five years ago at my invitation, ignited a spark in the deputy prime-ministerial mind, ' he added.

Urban Design Alliance member Ben Derbyshire, the founding partner of HTA Architects, said the Prince-Prescott alliance had been on the cards for some time.

'The Prince's Foundation holds a lot of influence at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, ' he said. 'There has been a lot of cross-fertilisation of ideas.David Lunts went to Prescott's office from the foundation and David Warbottom went to English Partnerships. They are locked into this group.'

'However, one can manage to see it as a positive, ' he added. 'There are some good things to take from Poundbury and Seaside.'

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