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Heatherwick coughs up over doomed B of the Bang

The team behind the ‘troubled’ B of the Bang sculpture has agreed to pay £1.7 million to Manchester City Council.

The out-of-court settlement – split between Heatherwick Studio and subcontractors Packman Lucas, Flint and Neill Partnership and Westbury Structures – follows years of problems with the 56m artwork in east Manchester.

It is now rumoured that the sculpture, which has already had a dozen of its metal spikes removed due to safety fears, could be pulled down less than four years after it was officially unveiled – although the council has said it will not make a final decision on its future until early next year.

Heatherwick’s team and the local authority were expected to fight it out in a high-profile court battle, scheduled for next week (24 November), in a bid to determine who was to blame for the £1.4 million structure falling apart.

However, the admission means the council can ‘recover substantial damages and avoid further cost’ as well as ‘the risks that are associated with legal proceedings.’

Susan Orrell, the council’s solicitor, said: ‘I am pleased we have reached a settlement that is, in my view, in the best interests of the council, and now that this has been achieved it means the council can move on and consider the options for the future of the structure in conjunction with the project’s funders.’

A spokesman for the Heatherwick team said: ‘The B of the Bang sculpture was an ambitious and groundbreaking design.

‘It is a matter of considerable regret to all of us that the sculpture that was intended to symbolise the outstanding success of the Manchester Commonwealth Games has suffered the problems that have come to light.’

The sculpture was officially opened to the public in January 2005, at least a year and a half late, but was closed shortly after when a 2.1m spike fell off.

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