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Conservationists launch fresh attack on Foster's Great Court

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Foster and Partners' Stirlingshortlisted British Museum Great Court became mired in further controversy last week as local conservationists demanded changes to the completed project.

Both Camden Civic Society and the Bloomsbury Conservation Group have called on Camden council to enforce alterations because of 'differences between the completed scheme and the planning permission'.

Just a week before the Stirling Prize presentation, the groups have called for the museum to rip out a 'fake parapet' from three of the four sides of the court because it was not present in Sir Robert Smirke's original building.

Hero Granger-Taylor, a member of the Civic Society committee and Bloomsbury Group, also claimed there were further inconsistencies.

'There are differences between what was given planning permission and what was actually built, ' she told the AJ. 'The whole project is full of construction errors.'

Both groups have demanded the council's planning enforcement department take legal steps to force the client, the practice and the contractor to make changes. Camden has already asked for a fresh planning application to cover the differences between the project that won planning permission and the one actually built.

However, if the council fails to enforce the changes, the conservation groups are considering taking the issue to a judicial review. 'We are determined to get the museum to remove the parts that were falsified, ' GrangerTaylor added.

The RIBA's head of awards, Tony Chapman, told the AJ that the controversy was unlikely to affect the project's position on the shortlist. 'The judges will simply judge the building as found, ' he said.

Foster and Partners was unavailable for comment.

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