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Christmas contract deadline for Portsmouth skyscraper

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Team leaders for Portsmouth's Millennium Tower were told by the city council last week to 'put up or shut up' - either signing contracts or losing the deal for the city's 165m skyscraper.

The council has been angered by delays in signing contracts to build the £28.5 million tower and run it for 50 years. The looping design with glass-floored viewing platforms by hgp Architects is due to be completed in 2001.

Council leader Leo Madden gave the consortium - including financier iaf Group, French builder Bouygues and Swiss leisure provider Intamin - until Christmas to sign contracts.

'We've become increasingly frustrated with the delays,' Madden said. 'The people of Portsmouth deserve better. We are committed to building the spinnaker-design tower and we already have the funding in place to build it without the consortium. The time has come to put up or shut up.'

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