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Stansfield Smith backs up Portsmouth's tower objections

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RIBA Gold Medallist and Royal Fine Art Commissioner Sir Colin Stansfield Smith has pledged to support the Portsmouth Society in its detailed objections to developer Berkeley's plans for a Millennium Tower and Gunwharf Quays redevelopment.

Society chairman Celia Clark said the 150m, £29 million tower, a design for which is being chosen by the public from three schemes by HGP Allchurch Evans, should have gone to open competition. The towers are 'heavy, earthbound and gigantic where they connect with the ground', she said. 'If we're going to have to look at this tower for 200 years it had better be something that doesn't disfigure the harbour for all that time.'

Clark last week sent the society's detailed objections concerning the tower - which is partfunded by £9 million of lottery cash - and the 'unadventurous, dull and joyless' Gunwharf mixed-use scheme to the RFAC, Lord Palumbo, Lord Rogers and local MP Mike Hancock. Stansfield Smith said he agreed with every word and would add his name to the campaign. The Gunwharf scheme goes before the RFAC and the city's planning committee next month.

The tower scheme is part of the £86 million millennium project for the Renaissance of Portsmouth Harbour which is supported by £40 million of millennium money. The three designs - 'Triple', 'Globe' and 'Spinnaker' - are the subject of a public vote, but Clark objects that there is no space for making a 'no' vote. She told the AJ that the society had helped to get one 'exciting' scheme based on a dockyard crane by Robin Partington at Foster and Partners designed and costed. But Fosters did not want to become involved, she said, when it found out that it was a design-build-operate scheme.

With 7500 votes already cast, the Spinnaker design is understood to be emerging as favourite.

An exhibition of the designs transfers this week to Gosport from Portsmouth, where it was seen by 10,000 people.

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