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Developer still backing Viñoly's Walkie Talkie tower - despite cost

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The man leading Land Securities' troubled development of Rafael Viñoly's 'Walkie Talkie' tower in the City of London has revealed that the scheme has so far cost £19 million, and is still without a start date in sight.

Mike Hussey, the managing director of Land Securities' London portfolio, said Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly's decision to call in the scheme (Public inquiry over Viñoly's 'Walkie Talkie' tower begins) had added £5 million to the £14 million the firm had already committed 'to professional fees'.

Referring to the beleaguered 20 Fenchurch Street scheme Hussey - speaking yesterday (26 April) at the AJ100 Breakfast Club at London's Claridges Hotel - admitted that he was 'up against it with Ruth Kelly'.

'Why the scheme was called in I don't know,' he said. 'The City Corporation liked it, CABE loved it and the Greater London Authority wanted it even bigger.'

Hussey, who described starchitect Viñoly as 'a genius' asked people to 'look at the background behind projects' and to 'accept that we all have to make sacrifices' for the sake of London's continued success.

The inquiry into the scheme ended last month, with English Heritage and Land Securities still firmly at loggerheads. A decision is not expected until the summer.

by Max Thompson

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