Robert Booth's article 'Rogers out of toon in Newcastle', (AJ 7.12.00) is misleading and riddled with inaccuracies. Several points warrant immediate correction.
It is absurd to report that our involvement in the West End Masterplan 'collapsed'. The design consortium completed an initial sketch draft masterplan and, as with all largescale projects, the second stage will go through the normal European tender process.
Far from being 'dictatorial', the design consortium recommended consultation with the local community. Indeed, our study contained broad-brush analyses and a range of outline strategies on the understanding that this work would then go to open consultation. Unfortunately, Newcastle City Council chose to insert specific information which we considered premature. Local communities may well have found the council's approach heavy-handed but we have always insisted on a clear separation between our work and that of the council. We can only reiterate that the council acted against our advice (we did not support recommendations relating to demolition contained in the council's Going for Growth which was prepared before we came on board).
There are some serious issues to be discussed on the subject of urban regeneration - brief writing, follow up and design team responses, to name but a few. I would have expected your journal to address such important and problematic urban issues with greater gravitas but your article's sensationalist approach brings the whole discussion down to the lowest common denominator. Terry Farrell has written to us condemning the degree of misrepresentation in Robert Booth's article - this only confirms our view that AJ seems to have abandoned any commitment to even-handed, well-informed journalism.
Richard Rogers, Richard Rogers Partnership