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HCA funding blow leaves Preston contest winner in lurch

RCKarchitects competition-winning housing scheme in the Preston is facing an uncertain future after failing to receive Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) funding

The victor of the RIBA-organised Preston Guild 2012 contest in January 2010, the scheme was due for occupation next year to coincide with the city’s guild celebrations.

However the main backer behind the already delayed scheme, Preston’s largest housing association Community Gateway, only managed to get two thirds of the cash needed for a series of projects across the city.

The AJ understands the RCKa scheme has now been ‘put on the subs bench’ but could be redesigned to make it more affordable. Later this week Community Gateways will meet with the practice to see how the scheme can be taken forward.

Dave Warlow of Community Gateway said: ‘We received less money and we are now looking at which schemes to build. Some we have a definite commitment to. We are treating the RCKa scheme as a reserve project. It is on the subs bench.’

Warlow added: ‘We will look at the detail and to what extent we could trim back the cost. The scheme is expensive, partly because of the quality and size of the rooms yet we remain relatively optimistic and are looking at other options for funding.

‘We didn’t run a competition just to build something common or garden. While we have all accepted it won’t be occupied in 2012 as originally intended, that is not a crisis. We can still build something that will be a legacy for the Preston Guild.’

RCKarchitects beat finalists Conran & Partners, Original Field of Architecture and up-and-coming practice Kosi Architects to bag the contest. The propoalssubsequently won a Housing Design Award.

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