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Dobson shirks design policy as others recruit architects

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With only six weeks left until London votes for its first elected Mayor, Labour candidate Frank Dobson is the only serious contender to have avoided the riba's campaign to influence each candidate's policy on design and architecture.

Campaign chiefs say that Dobson has shown no interest in the campaign despite the fact that each of his serious competitors has been in touch to polish their policy on the built environment.

'There's been nothing from Dobson yet. I'm not sure he's interested,' said campaign founder, Simon Foxell.

A spokesman for Dobson confirmed that he would not be taking a firm line on design and planning policy in advance of the election. 'Frank would back the government's recent line on encouraging better urban design, but we've been avoiding making statements of planning policy which could be challenged on legal grounds if he gets in,' the spokesman said.

But Foxell said that the campaign, which is being run by the riba's London region and headquarters, has close contacts with the other candidates. Ken Livingstone's arts advisor is architect of the Tricycle theatre, Tim Foster; honorary riba member Cynthia Grant is a Steven Norris' adviser; and Sam McDonough, assistant director of riba's practice department, is working on Susan Kramer's campaign. Ken Livingstone has also contacted the institute asking for advice (aj 24.2.00).

Foxell said he is planning individual briefing sessions with candidates where architects with experience of transforming parts of the capital set out their regeneration ideas.

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