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Alsop drops the toaster but wins the go-ahead in Middlesbrough

Will Alsop's 'eyebrow-raising' masterplan to transform an abandoned waterfront in Middlesbrough could finally become a reality.

Three years after the astonishing scheme was first unveiled, the developer behind the £200 million Middlehaven project, BioRegional Quintain (BRQ), has agreed terms with urban-renaissance company Tees Valley Regeneration.

However a spokesman has admitted that some of the 'more frivolous' elements of Alsop's original masterplan - such as a building shaped like a toaster - have had to be dropped.

BRQ is now expected to deliver more than 750 homes, offices, shops, cafes and a hotel as part of a 90,000m 2development hailed as the 'largest carbon-neutral scheme in the UK.'

The developer has assembled a gaggle of top-name architects to design the individual elements of the ambitious project, which includes one building nicknamed 'Marge Simpson's Hair' and another dubbed 'the Sugarcubes'.

Among the practices lined up to work on the scheme are Grimshaw, Studio Egret West, Branson Coates, FAT and Feilden Clegg Bradley.

The announcement has delighted Ray Mallon, the elected mayor of Middlesbrough. He said: 'Now the sceptics have their answer. Work will soon be under way transforming the redundant waterfront into a thriving community.'

He added: 'We set our standards high - some say too high - but in BRQ we have a company internationally renowned for its innovative approach to sustainable development and I welcome them into the town.'

by Richard Waite

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