First, the Middlesbrough town hall competition was not an RIBA contest. Second, the RIBA did not run a design competition for the Corn Exchange in Bury St Edmunds. The basis of selection was competitive interview with no design element.
The briefing paper distributed to competitors in advance of the interview clearly stated that necessary funding was not in place. The selected design team would prepare a feasibility study to inform a fundraising strategy.
The brief was not ambiguous and the client stated from the outset that the scheme depended on funding being secured. The business plan and fundraising have not been successful, so the client has not been able to proceed. This is a regrettable, but not uncommon, situation for the selected practice, client, local community and wider stakeholders, irrespective of whether the competitive route is pursued.
Paul Newman, director of membership and client services, RIBA