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'Planning terrorism': Robert Adam reveals rival to HKR's Poole plans

Robert Adam has drawn up a ‘tower-free’ alternative to HKR Architects‘ ‘run-of-the-mill’ proposals for West Quay in Poole harbour

It is the second time in recent weeks that Adam’s practice ADAM Urbanism has put forward a rival masterplan to a scheme already in the planning process - a move Adam describes as ‘planning terrorism’.

Last month the urban design branch of his company unveiled an alternative to Allies and Morrison’s controversial Silver Hill shopping scheme in Winchester (AJ 07.09.11).

Responding to criticisms, HKR redrafted its original 2010 plans for the £85 million, 373-home mixed-use development which features six buildings, including a landmark 12-storey landmark tower for Neptune Consultants.

According to ADAM the HKR designs, which are now supported by Design-Council CABE, have met with ‘strong local protest and 800 objections’ and do not fit with the character of the neighbouring old town. 

Adam, who was brought up in Poole, said: ‘When I was a student living in Poole in the 1960s I watched much of the precious character of one of the most attractive and important southern seaports destroyed with bad planning and disastrous traffic engineering.  I watched with dismay when I became an architect and urban designer as my home town continued to destroy much of its value and interest with poor quality and inappropriate development.’

Do we never learn from past mistakes?

Adam added: ‘When I saw the West Quay proposal I could stay silent no longer. Do we never learn from past mistakes?  Do visitors come to Poole to see run-of-the-mill contemporary design?

‘The decision-makers of Poole are put in a difficult position, faced with a yes-or-no choice and the support of CABE - a remote committee who care more about professional solidarity than a place most of them will never visit. We used the resources and expertise of my firm to show the people of Poole that there is choice.’

Adam insists the practice has been ‘very, very careful not just to flog traditional design’ but feels the waterfront doesn’t end up as a ‘monolitihic scheme’ designed by one firm.

HKR's latest West Quay proposals for Poole

HKR’s latest West Quay proposals for Poole

Speaking to trhe Bournemouth Echo, James Leonard of Neptune Consultants said: ‘We would point out the very rudimentary and conceptual nature of these unresolved and untested proposals.’

‘It would appear to us that these proposals are most unlikely to comply with the broad ranging and very detailed planning, urban design and environmental policy framework that must be applied to this designated urban regeneration site.’


Readers' comments (1)

  • ADAM may not be aware of this, but architecture is not just about style. The HKR scheme has many flaws, but the ADAM populist Knee-Jerk fails to address those flaws. It just repackages them. This is because the problems are not specifically related to style, but rather about how the scheme will be used and how it reflects the current successful pattern of development and use along the quay.
    He also may not have noticed that Poole has a great deal of modern architecture, which commnds a premium in the local market over traditional design. But what do the locals know?

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