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FCO scheme in Abuja put on hold

The competition to design the new British High Commission office in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, has been put on hold after the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) was told there was no cash to fund the project.

According to sources within the FCO, organiser of the contest, the future of the office's capital programme for new-build projects is being reviewed by central government - meaning that the Abuja development is now on ice.

The hold-up will come as a blow to the five shortlisted practices ( Allies and Morrison gets a second chance in Nigeria with high commission comp ) waiting to hear whether they have won the prestigious £25 million project.

The expectant finalists are Allies and Morrison; Jordan and Bateman; The Manser Practice; John McAslan & Partners; and RTKL.

The situation looks unlikely to resolve itself soon, following Gordon Brown's departure from the Treasury to become prime minister, and it is understood that the scheme could be delayed by at least three months.

The FCO wants to build a 5,000m2 complex including an administrative block, 10 new staff houses and 'associated security works'.

by Richard Waite

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