Shield put around London skyscraper blamed for starting fires
Temporary scaffolding has been put in place to shield businesses after a skyscraper was blamed for starting fires and causing damage by reflecting the sun's rays.
The half-finished 37-storey tower at 20 Fenchurch Street in central London, dubbed the "Walkie Talkie" due to its distinctive shape, is now being called the "Walkie Scorchie" because of its apparent ability to bounce heat from the sun on to buildings in the next street.
Angry business owners in Eastcheap say the £200 million project has blistered paintwork, caused tiles to smash and singed fabric. Motorist Martin Lindsay said the intense heat melted part of his Jaguar when it was parked on the street.
Developers Land Securities and Canary Wharf say they have agreed to foot the bill for the repair work, and have also built a large temporary screen to reduce the chance of further damage to businesses in the path of the reflected sunlight.
A company spokesman said: "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.
"We have been in contact with Mr Lindsay, and as a gesture of goodwill we are meeting the repair costs of the car."
Ali Akay, 22, 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.
But he said the temporary scaffolding, acting as a makeshift sun visor outside the business, had worked well.
"We can't feel the heat at all now, so we're pretty pleased," he said.
"The developers said they would listen to us and help, and they have. The scaffolding does a perfect job.
"There are signs outside advertising Re Style, so we are quite happy."