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CABE questions future of 'incoherent' PFI

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CABE has raised fresh concerns over the PFI procurement model's future in healthcare.

The watchdog's Design Review Committee (DRC) has attacked Birmingham's new flagship PFI hospital, designed by BDP and Nightingale Associates, branding it 'incoherent and perplexing'. In its latest assault on the 180,000m 2 teaching complex in Edgbaston, CABE singled out a 137-bed mental health facility, describing the unit as 'lacking coherence or empathy with its surroundings'.

The news comes only days after Ken Livingstone's planning department savaged HOK's plans for a PFI hospital in London's Whitechapel (AJ 12.8.04).

The main 1,246-bed teaching hospital in Birmingham also came under attack. CABE insisted the ward blocks remain 'problematic' but stressed that the project appears to be developing in a promising way.

The DRC report stated: 'Our previous concerns about the nature of the courtyards, the actual level of daylight in some of the light wells? and the potentially relentless internal curved corridors remain. We have some reservations about the dominant forms of the roofscape.' BDP's project director Andrew Smith defended the scheme: 'There are a number of safeguarded zones that need to be replaced and cannot be built on. We have to reflect these constraints. But our reaction to CABE's comments is positive.'

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