Death of Alan Cherry prompts widespread tributes

1 February 2010

Industry figures lined up to pay tribute to Alan Cherry, founding director of Countryside Properties, who has died aged 76 six months after being diagnosed with cancer.

Cherry, who was awarded the MBE in 1984 and CBE in 2003, left school at 15. Ten years later in 1958, he founded Countryside. In 1972 he took the firm public, before returning it to private ownership in 2005.

Over his half century at the helm, Countryside specialised in regeneration, with landmark projects including the Stirling-prize winning Accordia development in Cambridge and the Greenwich Millennium Village.

Former construction minister Nick Raynsford led the tributes. “The industry has lost a great champion, who was behind some inspirational schemes,” Raynsford said.

Cabe chief executive Richard Simmons called Cherry, an “outstanding champion of good design”.

Stephen Stone, chief executive of Crest Nicholson and a former Countryside employee, said: “I learned a lot from him, not only in ideas but also in moral standards. He broke the mould of standardisation.”

Building wrote in its leader article: “In an industry notorious for building, selling and moving on without a backward glance, Alan was committed to making communities. This was exemplified not just by the Stirling prize won by his Accordia development in Cambridge – an unprecedented accolade – but by the Greenwich Millennium Village, where he was brave enough to take a neglected and poisoned stump of land and help turn it into something special.”

Cherry also served on Richard Rogers’ urban task-force in the 1990s. Lord Rogers paid his own tribute to Cherry, telling architects' magazine Building Design: “He was a really good member of the Urban Task Force because he had that practical knowledge.”

Rogers also applauded Cherry’s work on the Countryside-developed Greenwich Millennium Village and said his management buyout of the then-listed Countryside in 2005 was typical of his commitment to quality.

“He found it difficult to be told by shareholders what to do on such a long-term project,” he said.


Rochdale's Spodden Valley: In September 2005 the two companies concerned with the application to build on a contaminated site apologised for misleading the public and admitted that the asbestos contamination was worse than they had hitherto claimed. Both Countryside Properties and MMC Developments made public statements to that effect.

This admission followed a concerted campaign by Save Spodden Valley residents protest group and ongoing reports in the Rochdale Observer, Private Eye and NORTHERN VOICES.

Spodden Valley Residents, 16 May 2010

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