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United front needed to silence cries of Prince


Prince Charles' 1984 outburst should be treated as a personal cry for help and nothing more (AJ 27.5.04).

At the time he criticised a fragmented profession that lacked the body to reply with one voice and was severely punished as a consequence.We were a relatively easy target then.

Twenty years on, the profession, while consolidating all round, has still not got itself together on the mass-housing front and is associated with oneoffs, totally computer-orientated.

It shows little sign of becoming more linked to the person in the street. The Prince, meanwhile, has not changed his vision at all and has conveniently linked himself to coding, which matches his vision completely.

He has, however, realised via his personal problems that the public can be cruel and has moved towards them with his view that they should be consulted, and has gained considerable support for that view.

Architects, however, still lack this basic commodity and it could cost them dearly on mass housing.

John Prescott, like all politicians, is learning fast and appears to have an ally in the Prince who, like architects, is a slow learner when it comes to designing tomorrow's housing.

The inevitability of accepting second best or compromises in a confused situation that is rapidly evolving may be upon us.

While we appear helpless to form a united front on the matter of housing design, we should be showing the public that we care about their basic needs and have the ability to provide a decent abode without having to rely on the Prince's experiences over two decades.

Without a united front, house building will never be the predilection of architects.

Rex Hawksworth, Portsmouth, Hampshire

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