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Boho X tower: MP calls for probe into 'wasted' £600k

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image copyrightLogic Architecture
image captionPlans for the skyscraper have been scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic

An MP is calling for an inquiry after more than £600,000 was spent on the design of an abandoned skyscraper plan.

Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald said the money spent planning the £30m Middlesbrough Boho X project was "a waste of taxpayers' money".

Last month, mayor Andy Preston said plans for the 260ft, 19-storey building at Middlehaven, were being "scaled back" due the coronavirus pandemic.

Work on the 260ft (80m), tower was to start in the summer and finish in 2022.

Mr Preston said its design is being reviewed due to changing demand for office spaces because of the pandemic.

A Freedom of Information Request revealed that £507,965 was spent on design fees and £48,454 was spent on surveys including transport modelling, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

'Whim of the mayor'

A planning fee of £45,000 was also listed alongside a £14,480 charge for video promotion and marketing, taking the total costs to more than £610,000. 

The tower had been touted as one of the cornerstones of Middlesbrough's bid to become the UK's digital city.

Mr McDonald said: "£600,000 of taxpayers' money had been "thrown away on the whim of the mayor.

"Let's be clear, this plan for 'Preston Tower' was always ludicrous and never had even the remotest chance of being built. 

"We must have a full, independent inquiry to find out how so much money could be spent on a plan with no commercial or architectural justification or merit."

The Labour MP also claimed the "money wasted" would have paid for weekly bin collections "twice over".

An alternative £20m, Boho X plan includes five and six-storey blocks with a rooftop swimming pool, rooftop bar, and rooftop gym.

Mr Preston said: "Through our plans for a Boho X digital skyscraper, we wanted to create a landmark beacon of Middlesbrough's ambition.

"Then covid came along and it completely changed - so we've intelligently and pragmatically adjusted our plans whilst keeping in place all of the scheme's original ambition and innovation."

image copyrightLogic Architecture
image captionThe original tower plans would have commanded views across Middlesbrough and Teesside

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  • Boho X tower reviewed due to coronavirus