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Architecture show falls victim to foot-and-mouth epidemic

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The foot-and-mouth crisis sweeping the country even infected the architectural profession last week when the Hertfordshire Association of Architects was told to cancel a major event set to take place at the Riding Stables of Hatfield House.

Francesca Weal of the RIBA branch told the AJ that Hatfield House's late decision on Monday to force the abandonment of the annual Listed Building and Conservation Show on 3-4 March would leave the organisers 'several thousand pounds down'. The move is due to the fact that deer graze in the Jacobean mansion's grounds.

Hundreds of bookings had been made, all the stands were taken and costs were 'tremendous', she said. Generous sponsorship by conservation contractor Sindall helped outlays - which included sending mailshots to 7,000 listed building owners - but there was no question of seeking compensation from Hatfield House.

The event was to have been the fourth of its kind, run in conjunction with the Hertfordshire Building Preservation Trust. It attracted more than 1,000 people last year, including members of the public, and was set to be opened by actor Sir Nigel Hawthorne. The show programme included seminars on using architects, the problem of 'bugs and rot', VAT and listed buildings and making historic buildings accessible to all.

'We're pretty devastated, ' said Weal. 'But for once we've got all our speakers on board for next year already.'

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