Architect fined after Peak Park dispute

Adrian Russell
Adrian Russell

An architect has been fined £1,000 after being found guilty of misconduct by a panel of professionals.

Adrian Russell, of Bakewell, was found guilty of professional misconduct by the Architects Registration Board (ARB), which regulates architects.

He was approached by the Peak District National Park Authority to comment on the way its planning department was run due to his experience in the Peaks.

However after Mr Russell criticised the authority, chief executive Jim Dixon made a formal complaint to the ARB.

Following the tribunal on Thursday, Mr Russell was found guilty of misconduct on the grounds that he made representations that were inappropriate, offensive or discreditable, that he copied comments to third parties and circulated them other practitioners.

The ARB’s decision notice following the tribunal stated: “This case arises from Mr Russell’s passion for the Peak District National Park in which he has practised as an architect for many years.

“National Park planning authorities are somewhat different to other planning authorities and have a great degree of autonomy.

“Mr Russell believes that the Peak District National Park planning authority is not well run.

“He believes that officers exercise an inappropriate level of power. They will, he believes, seek to make substantial alterations to plans that have been passed rather than approve details and that this is an abuse of their authority. He thinks that the park’s policies are applied inconsistently.”

The decision notice went on to state that it was not the job of its professional conduct committee to explore the adequacies or inadequacies of the national park authority.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Russell said that while he has retired from practice as an architect, he will keep up his membership of the ARB and continue to be active in Peak Park Watch, an independent group set up to monitor the authority.