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End in sight for Clissold dispute?

The dispute at the heart of the Clissold Leisure Centre debacle in London's Stoke Newington looks to be nearing legal resolution.

The AJ understands that the first bout of mediation, aiming to clear up the many legal disputes emanating from the scheme, has reached its conclusion.

It has emerged that two of the parties involved - architect Hodder Associates and the client, Hackney council - have agreed to an undisclosed financial deal regarding the costs incurred as a result of lengthy delays on the controversial project.

But the agreement only marks the first staging post on the rocky road to resolving the scheme's many disagreements.

It is expected that next month both Hodder and the council, together with the contractors and subcontractors, will head back to court in an effort to agree on who should pay for the many defects that have dogged the scheme since it opened last year.

The agreement will come as a massive relief to Steven Hodder, who launched his own investigation into the leisure centre's problems with engineer Mark Whitby earlier this year, in direct competition to an official council inquiry.

Neither report has yet reached the public domain, although Hodder has previously made it clear that he believes the centre should already have been reopened.

Hackney's official findings are expected later this month and are likely to detail what is wrong and how it should be put right, together with an estimate of the cost to rectify each problem.

A spokesman for Hackney council, however, insisted that nothing official had been agreed between the warring parties in mediation.

'We had two days of very productive discussion last week but we have formally agreed nothing, ' she said.

'But we have no plans to put anything into the public domain at this stage.' At the time of going to press neither Steven Hodder nor the opposing legal teams were available for comment.

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