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Clissold Centre row heads for High Court


CONSULTANT Whitbybird is approaching deadlock in a battle with London's Hackney Council over unpaid fees for work on the troubled Clissold Leisure Centre.

Whitbybird is seeking unpaid fees understood to be running to hundreds of thousands of pounds relating to its works as structural engineer.

Hackney is pursuing a claim against the consultant relating to defects in the building.

If the dispute reaches deadlock, it may have to be resolved in the High Court.

News of deadlock emerged as Hackney announced on Tuesday that it had reached a settlement of a dispute over defects with the building's contractor Gleeson and architect Hodder Associates.

Hackney had issued a writ against Whitbybird, Gleeson and Hodder relating to defects, some of which resulted in a flooded basement.

The leisure centre has cost more than £30M and has remained closed to the public since November 2003 after a series of problems emerged (NCE 3 March).

Under the terms of the settlement, Gleeson and Hodder have agreed to pay a 'significant' amount towards the estimated £5M building repair cost, although they have not acknowledged liability.

Whitbybird chairman Mark Whitby told NCE that he believed the case was heading for the High Court.

'I have seen no evidence to date, despite significant third party investigations into the building, of any structural problems, ' he said.

A Hackney Council spokeswoman said it would take its claim against Whitbybird to arbitration.

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