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Hodder mounts private probe into Clissold row

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Stephen Hodder will today launch a counterattack in the ongoing dispute with Hackney council over the Clissold Leisure Centre debacle.

The Manchester-based architect is to take charge of his own investigation into the centre's problems and try to identify where blame lies.

Hodder has even employed his own structural engineers and cost consultants in a move that will compete directly with the council's investigation into the Stoke Newington building.

Hodder told the AJ that he has been left out in the cold by the council regarding the building's defects and is determined to find the real reason for its closure.

'We are going to have a look in the building and find out what has really gone wrong - at the moment we are being told absolutely nothing by the council, 'Hodder said.

Clissold Leisure Centre opened in 2002 following a 12-month delay on the construction, which has since been the subject of a legal dispute between the council and the architect.

It closed in the middle of last year and has stood empty ever since. Two weeks ago it emerged that the council had amassed a £1.4 million war chest (AJ 3.6.04) to fund disputes with either Hodder or the contractor, Gleeson.

But Hodder is keen to find out for himself where the defects lie. 'We need to find out where the problems are.

At the moment I don't really understand what can have gone wrong, ' he said.

'How can our architectural detailing have caused the building to be closed for so long? We do not even know for a fact that the problems are as a result of the construction.

'We will be formal about this and will issue to the public a professional report into the situation that will address all the issues at hand, ' he added.

A spokeswoman for the council has previously said it will not enter into dialogue with Hodder while legal cases are pending. 'We've are not prepared to compromise our legal position by contacting the architect, ' she said.

See editorial, page 22.

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