Terry Farrell & Partners' proposal for a new walkway through central London is embroiled in controversy following accusations that the practice 'stole' the idea.
Urban designer Anthony Meats claims Farrell 'nicked' his walk tracing key 19th-century John Nash buildings after the two architects met in 1999.
'My idea has been pinched and I am miffed, ' said Meats. 'Terry Farrell originally approached me after hearing about my walkway. I thought he wanted to support it. I have since written to Farrell but I've been ignored.'
However, Farrell fiercely rejected Meats' accusations, insisting that he has been working on the proposals since the 1970s.
'I have been working on these ideas for over 30 years and it seems that Mr Meats can have no possible grounds for claiming that his ideas have been finickedfl, ' said Farrell.
'I feel that these accusations are helping no one as there is obviously no truth in them.What we need to do is get on and develop the scheme.
Entering into a row about its origins is not going to help, ' he added.
Farrell's scheme, which the AJ published two weeks ago (1.7.04), is known as the Nash Ramblas and takes in Primrose Hill, St James's Park and Trafalgar Square. It involves relocating London Zoo, exploiting planned improvements for Regent's Park and alterations to Oxford Street. The project has the backing of London mayor Ken Livingstone, the RIBA and local businesses. It first received official recognition during a Royal Parks Review Group meeting in 1992.
By contrast, Meats' idea, running north-south from Highgate via Regent's Park to the Thames, was originally outlined in the AJ in 1999.
At the time it won the backing of Ken Livingstone, then a mayoral candidate, who pledged to implement the scheme if he won power.
Livingstone states in a letter to Meats, dated 16 April 1999: 'I thought your walkway idea was great and would love to do it if I win the election for London mayor.'
Meats claims Livingstone abandoned his idea after winning office and is now supporting Farrell's scheme because he wants to 'woo' the architect. 'Once Livingstone was elected I didn't hear anything and I thought the project was a dead duck. That was until I saw Farrell's idea.
'His concept fails to properly resolve the problem of crossing the busy Euston Road. My idea includes a bridge to overcome this issue. I am continuing to work on the concept and I am encouraged by the pedestrianisation of Belsize Park, which fits in with my ideas, ' he added.