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Rogers slams Gateway 'disaster'

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Richard Rogers, one of deputy prime minister John Prescott's key advisers on regeneration, has launched a savage attack on the government.

Speaking in the midst of this week's Delivering Sustainable Communities Summit, Rogers - also Ken Livingstone's chief architecture adviser - warned that the Thames Gateway could be a 'complete disaster'.

He told the AJ that government-sponsored regeneration agencies appeared to have 'forgotten' the importance of good architecture, and also warned that Prescott's department only measured success in numbers and not the production of decent communities.

'The government's talk is still pretty good and many of the Urban Task Force's recommendations relating to 'inclusion' have been dealt with, ' he said on Monday (31 January).

'But it is critical that we look at the physical side of regeneration and the government seems to have forgotten about architecture - in fact, there seems to have been a steady movement away from it.

'All those different delivery bodies in London seem like bits and pieces. We need to have a massive clean out if we are to achieve anything.

'The delivery tends to be about numbers and hitting targets and this is what this summit is about. But if the government wants more affordable and high-density housing, it needs to be well designed. And they don't seem to be seeing that - it's an absolute disaster.

'I don't want to be too negative but we need to do something about this and we need to do it quickly.' Rogers also condemned the government for allowing competitions to go ahead without architectural input.

'Another example is the problem of governmentsponsored competitions being launched that do not have any architects on the panel. It is like attempting to launch the Nobel Prize without having any scientists on the judging panel. The government has really shown no sign of understanding the importance of architecture in the Thames Gateway region, ' he added.

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