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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 April, 2004, 19:19 GMT 20:19 UK
Anger as no-one blamed for tower
Spinnaker Tower
How the finished tower will look
A meeting to discuss Portsmouth's overspent and overdue Spinnaker Tower project ended with no agreement on who was to blame for the problems.

Two separate reports last month slammed the council's handling of the project, which was first approved in 1995.

An attempt to investigate the council's former leaders was blocked - instead it was decided to look at every councillor who voted for the plan.

The ruling Liberal Democrats said the meeting had achieved nothing.

I think it's been a disaster for the city
Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson
Deputy Leader
The scheme has been beset with delays since it was first planned as a millennium project.

It was claimed taxpayers would not pay anything, but the bill has now spiralled to over 10m.

The district auditor's report in March criticised council leaders, saying they had effectively handed developers Mowlem a "blank cheque".

But attempts by the ruling minority Liberal Democrat group to investigate former Labour and Conservative leaders Leo Madden and Frank Worley were defeated at Tuesday's meeting.

Spinnaker Tower
The tower remains unfinished

Instead it was decided that all councillors who had voted for the Tower would be investigated by the standards committee.

"The Conservative and Labour groups said they didn't want anyone to come in from outside and look at the council and tell us how to do things better," said Lib Dem deputy leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson.

"I think it's been a disaster for the city."

But Frank Worley said his conscience was clear.

"I've done the things that needed to be done to get that project here."

The new Labour group leader, Cllr Graham Heaney agreed there had been problems with the project.

"The contract we signed isn't ideal, but the tower is progressing, it is being built.

"We just have to make sure that we manage the risks properly.

"Mowlem are concerned to make sure they get it right too because their reputation is at stake as well."



Residents backing troubled tower
29 Mar 04  |  Hampshire/Dorset
Spinnaker scandal council slammed
26 Mar 04  |  Hampshire/Dorset
Spinnaker report to slam council
26 Mar 04  |  Hampshire/Dorset
Resignation over millennium tower
19 Mar 04  |  Hampshire/Dorset
A tale of two cities
29 Sep 03  |  Hampshire/Dorset


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