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CABE and Yentob fume at Westminster planners

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The BBC has denied it is threatening to quit Westminster after a row over its plans to revamp Broadcasting House.

BBC senior executive Alan Yentob reacted angrily after Westminster planners called for modifications to the MacCormac Jamieson Prichard redevelopment scheme.

Westminster's planning committee called for a dozen changes to the scheme, including the replacement of much of the glass façade with Portland Stone and a reduction in the overall height and bulk of the building.

Head of planning at the borough Carl Powell said there had been 'frustration' on the part of the BBC that its scheme would have to be altered. But he said Westminster was keen to encourage the BBC's expansion, recognising that the corporation was reviewing its property holdings and could leave its current HQ if redevelopment proved impossible.

The BBC this week has been distancing itself from the row, blaming Yentob's reaction on a lack of experience with the working of planning committees. A spokesperson said his position did not reflect that of the corporation, which was 'confident that all the issues can be resolved'.

Meanwhile, CABE's design review committee, reiterating its support for the scheme, has appealed for the original design to be left alone. It said a lowering of the south-east wing - one of Westminster's main demands - to reduce the backdrop to Nash's All Souls Church would weaken 'one of the greatest strengths of the project'.

And it said the replacement of glass with stone cladding would be 'a great mistake'.

l CABE's design review committee has also given its support to the Brighton and Hove Community Stadium by KSS Sports and Leisure Design, but said there was an opportunity to make the project more sustainable. It also welcomed improvements to Rolfe Judd's Tabard House in Southwark, but said an 'undue reverence' to the existing context was 'hampering' the mixed-use scheme.

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