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Farrell's Paddington PFI slammed

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PFI healthcare design has become further mired in controversy following heavy criticism of Terry Farrell & Partner's latest Paddington Health Campus masterplan.

Westminster City Council has 'fundamental concerns' about the proposals for the new super hospital in west London, including the height and bulk of some of the buildings.

Graham King, the council's director of planning and city development, has written to Farrell demanding that 'some significant issues be further reviewed and developed'.

He has also asked the Farrell team to 'look very seriously at adjacent sites to assess whether their incorporation can address the concerns outlined'.

The accuracy of the masterplan, which features a 22-storey building and tunnels linking the north and south sides of a canal, was also criticised.

King said in the letter: 'The submitted model appears to have a number of significant inaccuracies in the height of proposed and existing buildings, to an extent that it provides a very misleading picture of the proposals.' However, Garry Colligan, the design director behind the masterplan, has hit back. 'It was a sketch model and made in-house for the purpose of developing the design, ' he said. 'It was a design tool, done in the spirit of cooperation, and it is quite unusual to submit to the local authority at this stage.

'We welcome the feedback from Westminster City Council and we are working very closely. It is a very ambitious project and only deliverable through a lot of cooperation.

'The whole process is moving very quickly, and as masterplanners we are doing what we can to help people understand the design and get early feedback on it. We will be addressing all the points in the letter as part of the ongoing process and we are well aware of Westminster's concerns.' Since work started on the scheme, costs have spiralled from £382 million to £800 million and it has been plagued with difficulties.

But Colligan maintains that the process is still on track. 'We have made a very good start and are committed to developing the scheme in an inclusive way, ' he added. 'We are confident we will produce a masterplan that will be broadly supported by everyone.'

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