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MSPs' frustration at parliament 'failures'

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MSPs have launched a fresh attack on the design of Enric Miralles' Scottish parliament, following their first official tour of the £401 million building last week.

Members of the Green and Conservative parties, together with an independent, have all expressed frustration with 'failures in the original designs'. The main complaints include issues with light from the landmark windows and a lack of flexibility in the layout of the offices.

The criticism comes at a difficult time for the practices involved in the project. It emerged this week that Miralles' firm EMBA has received £2.4 million so far in fees while local practice RMJM has been paid £5.4 million. The entire project was originally budgeted at just £40 million.

Scottish Conservative Lord James Douglas-Hamilton said he was concerned when he saw the lighting in the MSPs' offices.

'Obviously Miralles had his own unique style which came from the bright light of the Mediterranean.

This is not best suited to the Scottish climate.'

Green member Robin Harper said his party was concerned about the 'way the whole block was designed'.

'God knows how much we'll be spending on the electricity for the block as we will be getting almost no natural light, ' he said. 'There is also a distinct lack of flexibility.'

And outspoken independent MSP Margo Macdonald has also joined the dissenters. 'Considering what we have paid for, I'd be surprised if many people like it, ' she said.

'I know that the architectural community is enthusiastic about concrete, but there seems to be a lot of it about, ' she added.

'I think a lot of people are going to see the bare concrete and get very angry.'

Lord Fraser's inquiry resumed last Tuesday.

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