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Mayor demands more cash to fix City Hall problems

Tories and Liberal Democrats within the Greater London Assembly joined forces this week to condemn Foster and Partners' City Hall building.

Tory Bob Neil told the AJ that problems with the 18,000m 2offices 'are so out of hand' that the mayor's office has demanded extra cash from the Government Office for London to put the faults right.

Neil, chair of the GLA's planning committee, called City Hall 'a building unfit for the job', and one that 'most of the members of the assembly wish had never been built'.

'Taxpayers are picking up the tab for the needed work, ' Neil said. 'The last thing we wanted originally was another white elephant forever drinking up money from the public purse.'

Neil said there are 'real concerns' about the design. 'It is not remotely big enough for the job it needs to do, ' he said, 'And the public access has gone far too far as well. The GLA needs more cash simply to make the building workable.'

He also condemned the building's environmental services.'They seem completely unable to control the temperature of any of the offices, 'Neil said.

A spokeswoman for the assembly's Lib Dems group echoed many of Neil's complaints, also attacking the size and design of the building. 'You would think that the government would have ensured City Hall was big enough, ' she said. 'It is already full and many of the branches of London's government cannot fit in.'

The mayor's office admitted that the authority has opened negotiations with the Government Office for London over more cash for the site. It said the money would be used to 'change the access around the entrances to the building, developing easier entry points for disabled visitors'.

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