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Rivals slam ‘standard’ seaside victor

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Finalists say Littlehampton council wasted their time, effort and money after it chose BFLS’s Soundforms product in ‘Stage by the Sea’ competition

Shortlisted architects in Littlehampton Town Council’s ‘Stage by the Sea’ contest have hit out at the local authority for choosing a ‘standard product’ by BFLS as the winner.

Finalists, mainly emerging practices, highlighted the similarity between BFLS’s victorious scheme and the temporary performance venue launched in March by the firm’s Soundforms joint venture with Arup Acoustics, ES Global and IMG Artists. Ben Allen, of Berlin-based finalist KWY, said he was disappointed the council chose a ‘modified version of a standard product’ and questioned the need for a design contest.

Winchester-based finalist Dan Brill added: ‘There was absolutely no point in hosting a design competition and Littlehampton should not have wasted the relatively significant amounts of time, effort and money that small, struggling firms set aside for speculative projects such as this.’

Clare Potter, project manager at the council, defended the selection process as ‘exciting and worthwhile’. She said: ‘We would consider any one of the shortlisted candidates for future projects, as all of them had something very special to offer.’

NEX, Ian McChesney, Dan Brill, KWY and Asif Khan were shortlisted in the contest to design a £40,000 shelter and performance space.

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