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Legal action looming following Turner Contemporary debacle

The architects behind the doomed Turner Contemporary Centre in Margate, Kent, which was ditched due to ballooning costs, are facing possible legal action from the project's out-of-pocket backers.

It is understood Kent County Council, which has had to write off £7 million in aborted costs following the scheme's demise (AJ 08.02.06), has set the legal wheels in motion against the scheme's architects - Norwegian practice Snøhetta and London-based firm Spence Associates.

In a leaked document handed to the AJ this week by one of the council's cabinet scrutiny members, it is claimed that the authority is seeking to recover some of the costs from the 'design team'.

The report reads: 'The county council has just issued letters before action to the design team claiming, among other items, losses stemming from the aborted project for which the county council believes the design team is liable.'

However, it is believed Design and Build contractor Nuttalls, which took on the ambitious waterfront project in summer 2005, has not received any such legal letters and that a settlement between the company and the council has been agreed.

Meanwhile David Chipperfield, who was appointed to design the replacement art museum, has been in the county showing off his latest proposals which - it has been reported - have been warmly welcomed.

by Richard Waite

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