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Holyrood architect hit by second setback in the UK

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Benedetta Tagliabue, the architect at the heart of the Scottish parliament debacle, has claimed that her second attempt to build a project in the UK has run into serious difficulties.

The Barcelona-based principal of EMBT, the practice she founded with the late Enric Miralles, told the AJ that the £150 million Trinity Quarter retail development, proposed for the centre of Leeds, was no longer going ahead.

'We have designed a project in the historic centre of Leeds which we think is really nice. It is a retail scheme - the first that we have done - and we were really excited about it, ' Tagliabue said.

'We were pleased to be building in the UK again.

However, there is now a problem with the council and with the local landowners and so the project is delayed. Nothing seems to be happening on it.' But Leeds City Council claims that the project is still in the pipeline. A spokeswoman said the scheme 'was not stalling' and that council officials were still hoping that a series of compulsory purchase orders would go ahead.

If the development wins approval, it would be constructed in collaboration with British practice the Stanley Bragg Partnership and would replace the 1970s Trinity Street Arcade. Drawn up for developer USS, the scheme includes 72 shops, restaurants and a new plaza.

Work had been expected to begin on site next year following the compulsory purchase orders made by the council, which decided earlier this year to give the project its backing.

However, Tagliabue refused to blame the council, the UK or the English planning system for recent failures.

'This kind of thing is very normal for an architect, ' she said. 'It is the same in many of the countries that we work in.

'It is nearly always difficult. I would be very depressed if I got frustrated every time it happens.

It is usual to have problems and complaints.

'People never phone you to say how nice a project is or how well it is going. They just phone if something is wrong or they do not like your designs, ' Tagliabue added.

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