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Four top teams vie to design £12m Poole Harbour bridge

Four teams of leading architects are vying for the chance to design a new bridge across Poole Harbour. Ian Ritchie Architects and Schlaich Bergermann, McDowell + Benedetti with Arup, Wilkinson Eyre Architects with engineer Gifford and Dutch practice Posford Haskoning are on the shortlist for the £12 million project following an international call for entries.

The teams have three weeks to draw up initial ideas for the structure, which will link the town to the port and Hamworthy.

Teams have been asked to produce a bridge with a 140m span containing a shorter section of 20m that will open to allow boats to pass through.

The scheme will fit within Terence O'Rourke's masterplan for the whole bay area - the second largest natural harbour in the world.

GeoffWood, director of public arts consultancy pArts, is advising the Borough of Poole on the competition. Wood said: 'Potentially this project could be hideous, or it could be beautiful, or it could have no impact at all. What we are after is a team that will create a new icon for the area.'

The selection process will include a series of workshops with three selected practices, with one or two successful practices eventually being commissioned to produce designs.

The Borough of Poole is also calling for expressions of interest from multidisciplinary teams to design a 40ha development that will create a new streetscape to run the length of the 1,200m-long new harbourfront and a new section of beach.

Teams must encompass an urban designer, architect, landscape architect, visual or environmental artist, lighting designer, engineer and quantity surveyor.

Wood said they were looking for a balanced team that will offer a creative solution as well as see the project through its implementation. For an information pack, telephone Val Taylor or Sue Ludwig on 01202 633321, or e-mail planning@poole. gov. uk Poole is set to receive further attention later this month, with the opening of its new £8.5 million centre for the arts, Lighthouse, designed by Alan Short Associates.

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