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Lift gets stuck as Spinnaker Tower finally opens

An external glass lift became stuck today on the opening day of the £35.6 million Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth which has been bedevilled with technical hitches and contractual problems.
The outside lift became stuck this morning prior to the opening as engineers made final checks. But operator Heritage played down the problem.

The 170m-high viewing tower - built by Mowlem - was originally meant to open in time for the turn of the millennium but work eventually began in 2001. A series of problems has led to it opening almost five years late.

The faulty glass lift, which operates in addition to an internal one, has caused the opening of the tower to be delayed since August.

A spokeswoman for Heritage said an official was reportedly trapped inside.

Portsmouth City Council was criticised by the Audit Commission for the handling of the tower project, particularly in organising contracts with the developers.

The tower, originally titled the Millennium Tower, was not meant to have cost local council tax payers any money but so far Portsmouth City Council has paid £11.1 million towards construction.

The Millennium Commission provided £15 million for the project, with £5.8 million coming from original contractor Berkeley Homes and another £2.7 million of contributions in kind.

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