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RIBA moves on conservation register problems

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The RIBA has set up a working group in an effort to head off the growing controversy regarding the AABC, the institute's register of conservation architects.

The task force will be headed by outgoing president George Ferguson, who was instrumental in bringing the AABC in house.

The group was set up after a lengthy meeting of the institute's practice committee yesterday, which agreed to the principle of a conservation register but recognised that there are problems with the current system.

The AABC has come under increasing pressure in the past few weeks after it emerged that long-standing anti-ARB campaigner Ian Salisbury had reported it to the Office of Fair Trading.

Salisbury and a series of other critics have complained that the register is a 'closed shop', arguing that the entry criteria are wholly unfair.

But practice director Richard Brindley told the AJ, speaking after yesterday's meeting, that there was nothing philosophically wrong with the idea of the AABC.

'We were agreed that the idea of specialist registers is a good one and that we would maintain the AABC,' he said. 'However, we also accepted that there are problems with the entry criteria that need to be looked at.'

Brindley added that the group would 'work fast', reporting back its conclusions to the next meeting of the Practice Committee in October.

by Ed Dorrell

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