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Tebbit attacks Battle of Britain Memorial cost hikes

Former Tory hardman Norman Tebbit has attacked the management of the construction of Donald Insall Associates' recently opened Battle of Britain Memorial in central London.

The ex-Cabinet minister, who made a name for himself for shooting from the hip, has attacked the cost escalations on the project, which was opened by Prince Charles in September.

Tebbit, who was chair of the fundraising committee for the project, hit out at the lack of direction on the scheme and a 50 per cent jump in cost.

The project, which sits on London's Embankment, was designed by Donald Insall in collaboration with sculptor Paul Day.

But speaking at an awards event last week, the Conservative Peer said both the costs and construction schedules had run out of control. 'In February 2003,' he said, 'I agreed to accept the chairmanship of the Battle of Britain London Memorial Appeal.

'The project, to build a monument to that battle and those who fought in it, had been launched almost a year earlier and the Battle of Britain Historical Society had secured a site and appointed architects and a sculptor.

'When I became involved, the project completion date was scheduled for Spring 2004 at a cost of £1.2 million.

'Unfortunately, the society had not appointed a clerk of works and the project was subsequently unveiled almost 18 months late in September 2005 - with costs escalating by over 50 per cent.

'It is no criticism of anyone involved in the project itself to say that we fundraisers often lamented the lack of our man - the client's man - in the form of a clerk of works,' he added.

by Ed Dorrell

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