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Developers ‘will erect screen’ to block skyscraper’s scorching rays

Blinding reflections off the surface of the 'Walkie Scorchie'.
 Picture: Andy Scofield/PA Wire Blinding reflections off the surface of the 'Walkie Scorchie'. Picture: Andy Scofield/PA Wire

Tuesday, September 3, 2013
7:49 PM

A temporary scaffold screen will be erected on the Walkie Talkie skyscraper in an attempt to prevent it from reflecting the sun’s rays and starting fires on a nearby street, the developers behind the building have said.

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The half-finished 37-storey tower at 20 Fenchurch Street in central London is now being called the “Walkie Scorchie” because of its apparent ability to bounce heat from the sun onto buildings in the next street.

Angry business owners in Eastcheap say the £200million project has blistered paintwork, caused tiles to smash and singed fabric. A motorist has also said the intense heat melted part of his Jaguar.

Developers Land Securities and Canary Wharf previously said they were working to prevent the problem from taking place, and said in a joint statement tonight: “Following approval from the City of London, we will be erecting a temporary scaffold screen at street level on Eastcheap within the next 24 hours.

“This solution should minimise the impact on the local area over the next two-to-three weeks, after which time the phenomenon is expected to have disappeared.

“The three parking bays will also remain suspended. We are also continuing to evaluate longer-term solutions to ensure this issue does not recur in future.

“We have liaised extensively with local businesses to keep them informed throughout. We have decided on this course of action with their input and agreement.”

Ali Akay, of Re Style barber’s, said the position of the sun at a certain time of the day caused a searing bolt of sunlight to start a small fire and burn a hole in his company doormat, and local businessman Martin Lindsay told City A.M. his high-spec Jaguar XJ, parked on Eastcheap on Thursday afternoon, had warped panels along one side.

Land Securities and Canary Wharf said the problem was caused by the current elevation of the sun in the sky with the issue expected to last for around two-to-three weeks. Three parking bays had already been suspended.

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