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Stuart in Brum

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Politics is a funny old game.

Take John Prescott's Urban Summit, taking place at the start of next month.

No sooner does he cosy up to the American 'new urbanists', inviting them to attend his party in Manchester, than they bite the hand that feeds by attacking his housing plans. Hank Dittmar, newly appointed chief executive of Prince Charles' Foundation for the Built Environment, is a new urbanist who says Prescott's policies will create soulless cardependent suburbs of the sort which gave the 1950s a bad name. Oops! Still, there will be at least one moment of sweetness and light at the summit: Sir Stuart Lipton is speaking, at the department's invitation, at a session on how development decision are made. Sounds as though the former CABE chairman has been rehabilitated.

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