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Robert Adam goes on the attack as 'style police' council looks set to reject his Basingstoke tower

Robert Adam has likened the Basingstoke Council to 'style police' over its handling of the practice's traditional-looking skyscraper proposals in the town.

The Brook House scheme, which will create 81 flats in a 'landmark' high-rise block, looks set to be refused on the basis that it is not look modern enough and should have 'a greater proportion of translucent materials'.

Adam believes Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has breached PPS1 by 'attempting to impose architectural styles [and] particular tastes' on the stone-clad scheme and has questioned the approach of the authority's own design-review panel.

The architect is particularly aggrieved by comments made by the council's landscape officer, who said that he was 'concerned by the style of and suggested materials proposed for building' and would prefer to see a 'more contemporary' scheme.

Adam is also annoyed that the authority will probably turn down the plans - under officer-delegated powers - even though the scheme has CABE's backing.

He said: 'I am afraid that local panels of architects consistently display this style bias often disguised as criticism of design quality.

'This is very clearly such a case but with no proper consideration of the quality of design in its own terms - that is accepting the validity of the stylistic approach.'

by Richard Waite

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