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Planning boss ousted

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A Westminster planning committee chief has been ousted from his post and has blamed planning for stifling good architecture. Alan Bradley, a Conservative councillor and former chair of the planning and transportation committee, was replaced by Louise St John Howe in a surprise 'reshuffle' by the council. Bradley had held the post since 1996 and was due to stand down next year. He was cagey about the reasons for his downfall but said: 'In politics you can't enjoy the ladders without occasionally sliding down the snakes.'

However, he said the planning system worked against good design because 'very often it results in compromise, and buildings show all the signs of being designed in committee. One of the words I dislike most is 'contextualise', which is not conducive to good architecture. Too often buildings are judged on whether they fit in, not on whether they are fine.' The council would not comment on his replacement, saying it was 'a political rather than an operational matter.'

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