The riba has put pressure on riba Gold Medallist Ralph Erskine to follow in the footsteps of Hunt Thompson Associates and resign in protest from the Millennium Village project on Greenwich Peninsula.
In one of his last acts as president, David Rock wrote to Erskine last week, revealing that the development consortium had been trying to get rid of hta since the start of the project. 'I have known of the client's attitudes to innovation and housing quality since the award of the competition prize to the hta consortium' he wrote. 'I spoke to the Minister, Nick Raynsford, to help avert hta's sacking at that time in favour of you and bdp.'
Rock writes: 'The riba supports hta's brave stand on the issues of quality on this major project and as a Royal Gold Medallist and as a member of the hta team, I would expect you to support their stand by resigning also.' A spokesman for Erskine's office in Sweden said no decision would be made until the end of the holiday season, in about a week's time. hta director Ben Derbyshire said, 'I understand Ralph is very upset. Whatever he decides to do he is entitled to do.'
Meanwhile Derbyshire is preparing his statement for an enquiry on the issue ordered by John Prescott. A spokesperson for the detr said 'We have been assured by the developers that the integrity and progress of this exciting project remain fully intact. However, the Deputy Prime Minister has asked for a full report and assessment on this matter.' He denied that English Partnerships would be carrying out the enquiry.
Derbyshire said that hta will be taking out 'a very substantial legal action' against Greenwich Millennium Village consortium. And he added, 'I hope the outcome is that the developers will implement some of the things they need to do in order to put the project to rights.' A report produced by the Tavistock Institute in March concluded that 'for a project with innovation ambitions as broad and deep as the gmv, such a lack of understanding and implementation of management processes ... would be a prime indicator of impending disaster. Something needs to be done.'