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Council ends 20-month deadlock at Bath Spa by firing contractor

The 20-month deadlock between Bath and North East Somerset Council and contractor Mowlem over the Bath Spa debacle has been brought to an end. With the words 'enough is enough', the local authority has dismissed the firm from the project.

Councillor Nicole O'Flaherty, executive member with responsibility for the spa, said: 'This certainly wasn't an easy decision.

The time had clearly come when the council needed to intervene and take positive action. I see this as the end of a nightmare and the start of a new beginning.' Despite controversy as to whether architect Grimshaw or Mowlem was to blame for faults on the spa complex, such as peeling paint and leaks across three floors, the architect has been retained as contract administrator for the project.

A council spokesman said:'We're not sure yet whether we will be appointing a new contractor in the same role that Mowlem filled - whether it will be one firm or a number of specialists.' The council took direct control of the project by removing the contractor and appointing contract administrator Capita Symonds in February. It will audit the state of the building before possibly completing it using specialist contractors.

The council rejected an offer from Mowlem in March to finish the job for a reported £26 million, with the council citing a catalogue of errors, omissions and events that represented a breach of contract by Mowlem.

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