Conspiracy or cock-up? That was a question in the minds of some observers of the Yo rk Coppergate II inquiry last week, when a very curious event took place.Much had been made by counsel cross-examining Peter Stewart, giving evidence for CABE, about its role when it does not have statutory duties and obligations in the same way as English Heritage. EH, it will be recalled, is supporting the Land Securities/Chapman Taylor proposal, while CABE is opposing.
Strangely, it came to someone's attention that the latest minutes from an EH commissioners' meeting noted the view that since Coppergate is about new architecture rather than old, then it was more in CABE's court than EH's. Needless to say, CABE's advisers immediately submitted the document as evidence to the inquiry, and strengthened its hand. CABE can certainly lay claim to locus in historic building cases, since PPG15 says that any significant development in respect of historic buildings should be referred to the Royal Fine Art Commission, for which you can now read CABE. The latter's cause was also helped by a brilliant appearance by Giles Worsley, giving expert evidence. He knows York, and the proposal, inside out, and had something of a field day in the witness box. Amazingly, the inquiry is now being deferred until May, yes May, before everyone can get together again to waste taxpayers'money - oops, conclude this very efficient inquiry.