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Alsop fumes at Blackfriars snub

Will Alsop has criticised the decision to sideline him on the project for a new Thameslink station at London's Blackfriars.

Alsop told the AJ that he is 'fuming' at the Strategic Rail Authority and Thameslink's decision to bring in Pascal + Watson to review the 'buildability' of his office's long-standing designs.

The practice was commissioned in 1995 to plan a station for the site as part of the controversial Thameslink 2000 project and, following a planning inquiry, won permission in 2001. However, problems with the scheme's finances came to light last year, and the Strategic Rail Authority suspended the Blackfriars project pending a review of its funding.

But last month the main client, Thameslink, brought in Pascal + Watson to review Alsop's designs.

Alsop told the AJ he was 'furious' that the practice had been sidelined. 'We are extremely disappointed that they have taken this decision. It is complete rubbish. Isn't it obvious that we know more about how to build our scheme than any other practice? I think they have done this because Pascal + Watson is seen as a more commercial office and the SRA has brought them in to see if they can do it on the cheap, ' Alsop said.

He also attacked the way the SRA currently does business.

'There is so much confusion about everything they do, ' he said. 'It is all open to major misinterpretation.'

A spokesman for Thameslink confirmed the review of plans for the station's roof that will extend over the north side of Blackfriars Bridge, but insisted that 'no one has been sacked'.

Pascal + Watson director Michael Haste said. 'We continue to work on the project and carry out the orders of the engineer Arup and client Thameslink.'

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