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Departing Millennium chief calls for imaginative spending

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Eric Sorensen, who resigned as chief executive of the Millennium Commission last week, has warned the government not to use lottery money on projects it should fund itself.

'The lottery should retain its thrust of additionality rather than spending on the maelstrom of day-to-day public expenditure,' he said. 'The sixth good cause has given money to imaginative schemes and the concept of additionality is very good for the country.'

Sorenson's departure follows the resignation from the Dome project of Cameron Mackintosh and Stephen Bayley. He would not say what his future plans were, though he 'doubted' he would work for English Partnerships, and will not stand for Mayor of London. He said he had resigned because much of his workload had been shifted to New Millennium Experience, and its programme of capital bidding was drawing to a close.

Sorensen leaves in March with £50,000 severance pay. He insisted the Millennium Commission would not be disbanded but would continue to work with New Millennium Experience for the festival of 2000.

Coonan refutes president'scomplaints over visitor centre

Former Arts Council architecture chief Rory Coonan has defended a selection process he recommended to a client who wants to build a visitor centre at hms Trincomalee, a contest which was this week whittled down to a final shortlist of three.

Coonan, who was criticised by riba president David Rock for advising the Trust to shortlist 24 firms from over 100 initial replies, said that the winning practice will have had to cope with 'minimal outlay . . . a train fare plus a few hours maximum on a few sketches and thoughts . . . That should be a matter for congratulation rather than complaint'.

The visitor centre is proposed to be built using heritage lottery funds on a quayside in Hartlepool, with an on-board interpretation element. Rock wrote to the aj last week complaining that the work required a visit to the site 'and much more than a few hours' work, all in all amounting to a few thousand pounds for each of the 24' - suggesting that instead the client should have visited the offices of six practices, a 'reasonable number' for the £3 million project.

Coonan told the aj the final shortlist, drawn from 13 responses to the initial shortlist of 24, would each be paid £2500 to cover costs. They are: Bob Baxter and Nigel Stock of Amalgam; Avery Associates and Brennan and Whalley; and Stanton Williams.

Captain David Smith, chairman of the Trincomalee Trust, wrote to Rock this week saying that only the 13 had incurred expense, and 'entirely on a voluntary basis in a competition open to the whole of Europe'. A winner will be announced next month.

Fresh evidence in misconductcase fails to budge RIAS

The rias has failed to react to further evidence in the case of Dennis Rodwell, the architect who is fighting to restore his reputation after the rias found him guilty of professional misconduct in 1995.

Jim Cuthbertson, who compiled a report for the riba exonerating Rodwell last year, sent fresh evidence to the rias in October. The rias still maintains that Rodwell is guilty, despite an interim interdict in court in June which overturned the rias' suspension and reinstated Rodwell's membership.

The fresh evidence concerns the clients' accounts that were set up for two people whose homes were undergoing repairs under the supervision of Rodwell. It was complaints by these two people which led to Rodwell's suspension on the basis that he used their money without authorisation. But they had signed forms giving him the authority to do so. And although the forms should also have been signed by Edinburgh District Council, a further document shows an agreement between the council and the Edinburgh Architectural Association that, due to a moratorium on council spending, they would be considered valid without the council's signature.

In a letter to riba president David Rock, Cuthbertson, who is a member of both rias and riba councils, writes, 'If my interpretation of the documents is correct, I have to ask what offence Dennis Rodwell committed . . . I now think Dennis Rodwell had the authority required under the rias Client Rules.'

Cuthbertson sent his comments on the charges to the rias in October but has received no response. He has now circulated them to all rias council members, prior to the next council meeting on 28 January.

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