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Austin-Smith:Lord's Scottish scheme 'not good enough for a National Park'

Austin-Smith:Lord's retail scheme in Aviemore, in the Scottish Highlands, has come under heavy fire from design watchdog Architecture & Design Scotland (A&DS).

The practice is aiming to redevelop part of Aviemore's town centre to create a new retail development, but the proposals have been panned by A&DS.

The scheme, which lies within the Cairngorms National Park, was originally reviewed by A&DS in November 2005, but the committee still found the designs unsatisfactory a year on.

The latest report, which was issued in February 2007 but has only been made public now, said: 'We recognise that certain aspects of the design have been altered in response to our original concerns.

'However, these are relatively minor when considered in relation to the gravity of our earlier concerns and the importance of the site to Aviemore.'

The committee also claimed that Austin-Smith:Lord's designs failed to create a 'sense of place', and the quality of the public spaces proposed was 'not of an acceptable standard'.

The review panel also considered the landscaping proposals to be 'unconvincing' with the quality of 'placemaking' and said the resultant public realm offered little benefit to Aviemore.

The report concluded: 'We do not support the design as it is not a sufficiently high standard for the National Park, and it does not meet the design aspirations set out in the Scottish Executive guidance.'

Austin-Smith:Lord has said it has been working closely with A&DS, the planners and National Park Authority since February to come up with a better solution.

by Richard Vaughan

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