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Prescott urged to keep Village teams for more competitions

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Deputy prime minister John Prescott is being advised to automatically shortlist the beaten Millennium Village teams in a series of at least five more similar competitions he has asked English Partnerships to run across the country.

Prescott adviser and former EP head David Taylor told the AJ that he was suggesting that the teams - featuring architects including Foster and Partners, Zaha Hadid, Branson Coates, RHWL, Allies and Morrison, CZWG and EDAW - be included in the competitions, which are to be held over the next two years in further attempts to produce high-profile, government-backed exemplars of mixed-use design, energy efficiency and construction technology.

At last week's annua l MIPIM conference in Cannes, EP chief executive Anthony Dunnett urged the property industry to come forward with potential sites, each more than 10ha and 'in areas of housing need', for the competitions. The agency has already earmarked 'several' publicly owned sites but wants a wide geographical spread of brownfield sites on to which the industry will again be encouraged 'to take on new methods of urban planning, building design and construction'. If better sites come from the private sector, EPwill listen. 'I would like to invite both the aspiring and established leaders in European property development to team up with British companies and firms to truly establish a new European exemplar of best practice in developing effective, efficient and sustainable communities, ' Dunnett said.

The agency said it was aiming to have four or five sites by this summer. The sites could be in: a city location requiring high density; a suburban location requiring the re-establishment of the community heart; an urban site with particular physical challenges such as exposed land or a steep incline; or a series of small interconnected sites infilling an urban area. EP wants to buy brownfield sites with planning consents for housing use in areas of unsatisfied demand for mixed ownership and tenure, or which is previously used land meeting the government's agenda for recycling.

Representatives from the Hunt Thompson/Ralph Erskine winning scheme - including Ben Derbyshire from HT and Chris McCarthy from Battle McCarthy - presented details of the winning scheme, which it is understood cost £300,000 to put together as an entry.

Meanwhile Ralph Luck, development director, Greenwich peninsula, said a planning application would be submitted for the Millennium Village next month and that Greenwich planners have indicated they will make a decision in July or August. Building work is expected to start in the autumn, with the first homes occupied in summer 1999.

EPis set to choose an operator from a shortlist of two to design a large retail foodstore on the peninsula opposite the Millennium Village. It is also looking to build a 150-bed hotel.

The North Greenwich Jubilee Line station on the site, designed by Alsop and Stormer, may change its name to become the Millennium Station to signal its proximity to the Dome celebrations.

An ICOMOS conference at the RIBA last week heard that Greenwich's problems as a new World Heritage Site are as great as Stonehenge's. See story page 20.

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