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Foster & Rogers in lobbying drive

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Lords Foster and Rogers have thrown their collective weight behind a campaign to put design quality at the forefront of the government's Sustainable Communities Plan.

They have both signed up to the Associate Parliamentary Group for Design and Innovation, as members of the House of Lords, which aims to 'force the government to increase the importance of sustainable design'.

Other active group members include the only architect in the House of Commons, Sir Sidney Chapman, Barry Sheerman and Debra Shipley, as well as 27 other MPs.

The campaign - which will include a series of meetings, seminars and conferences - aims to 'ensure the effective delivery of sustainable design'.

And it is a direct response to concerns expressed over the summer that the government is only giving 'lip service' to architecture in its drive to build thousands of new homes in London's Thames Gateway (AJ 14.8.03).

The group has set itself up as a 'watchdog', with a stated aim of monitoring the implementation of the Communities Plan.

Its general manager, Francesca Templeman, said the Design Council-backed campaign was 'very proactive by the standards of other parliamentary groups'.

'We feel it is our duty to have a go, ' she said. 'We need to show them how the design message can be implemented.

'I am sure this project will achieve something. I remain unconvinced that we will get the government completely committed to the architecture and design agenda, but we will get them to sit up and take note, ' Templeman added.

The first phase of the campaign - pencilled in for parliament's autumn session - will include a half-day conference within the Palace of Westminster. It aims to bring both Foster and Rogers together with 'key players' from government to assess the Communities Plan and 'focus on the build quality and environmental issues'.

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