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Scottish architects want independence

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The result of the Scottish referendum was not the outcome the majority of the country’s architects had hoped for.

According to an AJ poll almost two thirds (59 per cent) of the profession in Scotland wanted independence – a huge 15 per cent above the proportion of actual ‘yes’ voters (44 per cent) who turned out on 18 September.

The Architects for Yes campaign had put up a spirited battle, arguing that independence would invigorate Scottish architecture and boost the industry’s self-confidence.

For others, however, a vote to break away was a risky, leap of faith. One survey respondent said he didn’t know what independence meant: ‘It’s like designing a building with no foundation.’

Among those against independence was Edinburgh-based Richard Murphy who was candid about his fears of ‘economic and international limbo’ should a ‘yes’ vote succeed.

What the decision to stay together will ultimately mean for Scotland is still playing out. But one upshot was the gathering momentum for wider devolution elsewhere in the country.

Just weeks later, Manchester was the first to grasp the nettle, bagging itself new responsibilities and budgets for transport, planning and housing – on the condition it installed an elected mayor. Leeds and Sheffield look set to follow.

Chancellor George Osborne also appeared to be embracing this shift to the regions, promising cash for, among other things, a new HS3 link across the Pennines to create a ‘northern powerhouse’ – a phrase he wheeled out more than once.

 

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