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Armstrong Burton looks to win out in Bedford despite CABE criticism

Armstrong Burton Architect's (ABA's) £20 million Riverside Square scheme in Bedford looks likely to get the go-ahead despite an earlier savaging by CABE (CABE savages Armstrong Burton's Bedford scheme).

Bedford Borough Council's (BBC's) planning committee is set to consider ABA's plans - a joint venture between the council and developer Midland City and Developments - and the omens look good.

Council officers are expected to approve the scheme - which allows for 160 apartments, a restaurant and pedestrian and cycle bridge and landscaping - despite CABE's strongly worded attack, which concluded that 'a fundamental re-think [was] required'.

CABE panned the proposed architecture, claiming it had 'not responded to, or reinforced, the character of Bedford', adding that both the 'form and scale were inappropriate' to the surroundings.

The report said: 'We are seriously concerned about the development proposed, which we think fails in many areas -The U-shaped layout of the building has a poor relationship with the river; not least because the building will have a poor street frontage.'

However, in a report the council dismissed CABE's criticisms and wrote: 'The proposed development has successfully managed to achieve the very difficult task of creating active and inviting frontages to both the north and south elevations.

'CABE was invited to clarify and expand upon its initial response, but has not (done so).'

No one from Armstrong Burton Architects or CABE was available for comment.

by Max Thompson

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