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ARB retention fee rise approved despite reformers' boycott

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A bid to increase the ARB's retention fee that appeared to be dead in the water now looks to have been voted through.

The small rise - from £76.50 to £78 - appeared to have been killed off two weeks ago when members of the ARB Reform Group threatened to leave a board meeting inquorate by walking out.

But last week a lay board member, Alan Crane, persuaded chair Humphrey Lloyd that board members should take part in a postal vote on the increased retention fee.

This vote took place last week and was overwhelmingly approved by a majority of nine to one.

However the ARB Reform Group, which makes up five of the seven elected architect board members and landed 70 per cent of the votes at the last election, boycotted the vote.

This leaves the board in an interesting legal situation, which one veteran observer described as 'the beginning of the end for the ARB'.

'Given that the board has just rejected the views of 70 per cent of the profession this is a fascinating situation,' ARB critic Ian Salisbury said.

'I believe that all architects should now cancel their standing orders to the ARB and hand in cheques at the door on the 31st March. That would be interesting,' he added.

by Ed Dorrell

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