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Visualisation firm sues developer over unpaid fees on Blackfriars inquiry

Architectural consultant and visualiser Hayes Davidson has launched a High Court battle to recoup more than £100,000 in unpaid fees following a dispute over its role in the public inquiry into two proposed London skyscraper schemes

The outfit claims none of its invoices have been paid by Circleplane, the developer behind a scheme – originally designed by Wilkinson Eyre – for a 43-storey residential tower, a 23-storey office tower and a number of shorter seven-storey residential buildings on the site near Blackfriars Bridge.

The inquiry also looked into the Beetham Organization’s plans for a 52-storey, mixed-use hotel/residential building on a neighbouring plot, designed by Ian Simpson Architects.

Following the joint public inquiry, communities secretary Hazel Blears gave both schemes planning consent in March 2009.

Hayes Davidson’s claim relates to images used at the public inquiry in September 2008, which it said Circleplane relied on when seeking planning consent.

Both Circleplane and Beetham had commissioned planning visualisation work from two different companies, but, according to the writ, Hayes Davidson was approached to provide images and animation showing both projects in the summer of 2008.

Hayes Davidson says it estimated its fees at between £227,943 and £302,943, which did not include extra images requested by Circleplane.

The firm later provided a lower cost estimate, and, it is claimed, received instructions from both teams. Circleplane, the writ alleges, agreed to pay half the cost of the combined work completed. There is no legal dispute with Beetham over its share of the fees.

But, in breach of contract, the writ says Circleplane has failed to pay invoices totalling £111,379.30. Now Hayes Davidson is seeking payment of this sum, as well as interest of £17,874.20.

Wilkinson Eyre, which has been replaced on the scheme, says it has been paid by Circleplane.

Hayes Davidson was unable to comment

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