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Cardiff pulls the plug on Alsop's landscape scheme

Alsop & Stormer's plans for a £900,000 landscaping scheme around its newly built Cardiff Bay Barrage could be left in tatters by the winding up of the Cardiff Bay Development Company at the end of this month.

The practice's plan looks set to be abandoned after Cardiff County Council takes over responsibility for landscaping the barrage area 1 April. The council has earmarked £2.5 million for the landscape and is likely to issue a new tender for the job. The move means an extra delay for the project which should have started this month.

The development has angered Alsop & Stormer, which also produced designs for the £115 million barrage itself - which has already been built. The practice had already appointed a contractor to start work on the landscaping.

'To pull out at the last minute is pretty frustrating and its also frustrating not to be consulted on the switch of responsibility to Cardiff County Council,' said director Stephen Pimbley.

Alsop & Stormer looks unlikely to resubmit its proposed designs if the council decides to issue a new tender and Pimbley is particularly concerned about the sand embankment which is in place and was due to be built on.

'This is a political fudge and in the meantime the sand bank is eroding and being blown away by the wind,' he said.

Alsop & Stormer had planned an embankment which would run parallel with the River Severn, broken into a series of gardens and boardwalks.

The Cardiff Bay Development Corporation has asked the local authority to take on the architects to design the landscaping, but stressed that its control of the project had now been handed on.

Cardiff County Council said that discussions over the future of incomplete contracts were still underway. 'A number of contracts will be incomplete at the handover and completion arrangements will e agreed as part of a transfer of undertakings to the council,' a spokeswoman said.

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