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Findlay's sea 'slug' plans stalled

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Ushida Findlay's controversial 'slug' proposal for Hastings seafront has fallen victim to bitter wrangling between the two authorities charged with regenerating the rundown East Sussex town.

Hastings Council has stalled development of the dramatic Stade Maritime Landmark (above left), citing a possible conflict with Foster and Partners' iconic Pelham Place scheme (above right), planned for the town by regeneration body Hastings and Bexhill Task Force.

However, the task force denied that a conflict exists, and has strongly urged the council to continue with the 'exciting project'.

Hostilities between the task force's urban design manager, architect Carolyn Lwin, and Hastings Borough Council have now reached a new low, with Lwin taking her former employer to an industrial tribunal.

Lwin, who was initially on secondment to the task force, has cut her ties with the council, accusing it of sexual harassment. In her resignation letter, printed by the local paper, she claims senior management at the council has 'become a wholly woman-free zone'.

Kevin Borman, spokesman for Hastings Council, refused to comment on the sexual discrimination case. But he confirmed that Ushida Findlay's scheme would remain on hold until a masterplan for the seafront had been completed in the summer.

'We want to see how the two will work together. Many locals thought we shouldn't continue with two ambitious schemes at once.'

Findlay's new visitor centre was first revealed in July 2000. But after a storm of protest, the council called for it to be scaled down and reoriented. Foster and Partners won the Pelham Place competition last autumn, a mixed-use scheme with a new civic space and hotel.

Borman denied the council was intentionally trying to stall the Stade project, which was originally costed at £3million but grew to £4-5 million as the design developed.

But Lwin insisted: 'The Stade doesn't impact - if anything it complements what we are trying to do at Pelham Place.'

Ushida Findlay was not available for comment.

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