Reprimand for Hebden Bridge architect

Mytholmroyd Community Centre, where a pool will be built.
Mytholmroyd Community Centre, where a pool will be built.

A Hebden Bridge architect has been reprimanded after being found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct.

Dennis Moreton-Deakin, of Morten-Deakin Associates, admitted breaching two clauses of The Architects Code in relation to a complaint made by the Hebden Royd and District Swimming Pool Association (HRDSPC).

And his conduct was deemed unaceptable by an Architects Registration Board (ARB) professional conduct committee.

The allegations date back to 2006 when, on behalf of the HRDSPC, Luddenden Foot ward councillor Richard Marshall employed Mr Moreton-Deakin to act as architect for the construction of a long-sought after swimming pool.

Between April 2007 and November 2008 four planning applications were submitted. The first was withdrawn, the second and third were refused by Calderdale Council because a sufficient flood risk assessment hadn’t been completed, and the fourth was approved.

In 2009, HRDSPC received a breakdown of costs to the sum of £50,590.50 from Mr Moreton-Deakin.

This was the first time that Coun Marshall said he had been made aware of the level of fees and the project had to be put on hold.

Whilst Mr Moreton-Deakin had sent a letter to HRDSPC in 2006 confirming that he had been instructed to do the work, it merely stated “normal conditions of engagement and fee structure will apply”.

Through these actions, Mr Moreton-Deakin breached two parts of code.

These were: 4.2 ‘Architects should perform their work with due skill, care and diligence’ and 11.1 ‘failed to organise and manage his professional work responsibly and with regard to the interests of his client, in that he failed to record in writing: i) the scope of his work; ii) the fee or method of calculating it; iii) the allocation of responsibilities; iv) any limitation of responsibilities; v) the provisions for termination; vi) that he, as Architect, would be subject to the disciplinary sanction of the Board in relation to complaints of unacceptable professional conduct or serious professional incompetence’.

Coun Marshall, chairman of HRDSPC, said he was pleased with the decision.

“But on the other hand it’s sad that its had to come to this. We put our trust in Dennis Moreton-Deakin and he let the community down,” he added.

In its verdict the committee recorded that: “It has not been suggested that Mr Moreton-Deakin’s actions seriously affected his client or the public.

“He has demonstrated genuine insight into his failing and has cooperated fully with the regulatory process.

“He has accepted that what he did was wrong and the Committee accepts that his failure to admit unacceptable professional conduct was not an indication that he failed to recognise his failings.”

Mr Moreton-Deakin declined to comment.

The case details will remain on the ARB website , at www.arb.org.uk/PCC-decisions, for one year until the reprimand becomes spent.