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Bristol architect lays into CABE over London 'bias'...

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Bristol architect George Ferguson has branded the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment ( CABE ) as 'the London architectural establishment looking after its own'after CABE said it was broadly in support ofArup Associates'controversial Canon's Marsh development in the city.

Ferguson,whose practice has proposed the alternative Bristol Venice scheme for the site, accused CABE ofhaving 'all the appearance of being the RFAC in new clothes having listened to the advocacy ofthe scheme by those who presented it.'He attacked CABE for:the majority ofits design-panel members never having seen the site;

its response having been considered 'in an enormous hury';and for seemingly paying no attention to the residential or office elements ofthe Arup scheme.Ferguson added that the scheme,for Crest Nicholson,featuring four C-shaped blocks offlats rising to eight storeys on the waterfront, two 'vast'office blocks and a 1.6ha leisure complex would 'destroy'the setting ofthe city's Cathedral.

CABE defended its position against the charges of London-centricity and pointed to two regional members ofits design review committee - Leeds architect Irena Bauman and former Birmingham chiefplanner and architect Les Sparks.The panel said in the report it is concerned about the leisure elements ofthe scheme being considered simply as an outline planning application and calls on the planners to consider a detailed application carefully.

But Ferguson slated this as 'pathetic'since outline permission would clear the proposed massing - the main point at issue.He wrote to CABE this week to criticise what he considers a lack ofpenetration and vigour but is confident that Bristol council will reject the Arup scheme next month.

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