Both your Editorial and Astragal (AJ 12.8.04) claim that traditionalists are shooting themselves in the foot by taking an unnecessarily anti-traditional interpretation of the new 'isolated house in the country' clause in PPS 7.
But this is not just the interpretation of paranoid traditionalists. To quote a few newspaper articles: 'How bold of John Prescott to declare a ban on new Neo-Classical mansions' (Observer); 'Forget Classical columns' (Guardian); 'New country houses will continue to be allowed provided they are? not traditional' (Daily Telegraph); 'Its emphasis is on innovative, ground-breaking design rather than the construction of traditional country houses in Classical style' (The Times);
'Council officials will be banned from allowing reproduction Palladian manor houses' (Daily Mail) - there are many more.
I have already met with two local authority officers who interpret the word 'contemporary' in the clause as meaning Modernist.
You need go no further than the opening statement in planning minister Keith Hill's press release:
'Changing the face of new country house architecture from a pastiche of historic styles to innovative cutting-edge design is essential'. I think this is pretty clear.
Hill was warned of the likely interpretation of these words in a letter from the Traditional Architecture Group in mid-July.
He must have chosen to use these words in the knowledge of this interpretation. I don't think that it is the traditionalists who should keep quiet; it is the minister who should clear up the confusion he has created and tell us once and for all: is the government seeking to favour one architectural ideology over another and discourage traditional architecture in this new policy?
Robert Adam, Robert Adam Architects, Winchester