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Spat breaks out after CABE slams Gensler super casino plan

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A bitter row has broken out between CABE and Gensler over a savage design review of proposals for a new super casino in Blackpool.

The international practice has reacted with fury after the architecture quango published a report attacking the plans.

Very few aspects of the £350 million masterplan escape the wrath of the design review report. The reviewers even go as far as to call for the casino site to be subject to an international competition.

If it does get the go ahead, the 8ha seafront site would be the home of the UK's first regional super casino and is viewed as a 'key part' of the £1.4 billion masterplan to regenerate the rundown tourist attraction.

Gensler bosses are, however, furious with CABE for rubbishing their proposals.

Practice principal Ian Mulcahey said: 'We continue to be disappointed in the level of consideration CABE have been able to give to this scheme.

'The contradictions in their advice, the lack of understanding of the scheme and their confusion about the outline planning application process are an illustration of the significant problems faced by [CABE] when trying to be involved in the review of outline planning schemes, particularly outside London.'

An example of the CABE report comes in this extract: 'We do not think there is enough clarity in this parameter-based application to give confidence that architecture of the highest standard will be achieved for this important development.

'It is our view that the principles set out in the design statement should be more rigorous, and the parameter plans more loosely defined.'

CABE has responded to Gensler criticism, stating: 'If there are any points that need clarification we are happy to discuss with the team.'

by Ed Dorrell

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