The much-delayed opening of the troubled Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth descended into farce this week after the scheme’s project manager became trapped in its lift.

As the crowds gathered at the foot of the 170 m tower for its official opening on Tuesday, the council’s project manager, David Greenhalgh, looked down on them – stuck in the external glass lift.

Greenhalgh was trapped in the jammed lift for over an hour while abseiling engineers fixed the problem and released him.

The controversial millennium project is over budget by £11m and five years late. The original consortium charged with delivering the observation tower collapsed and Mowlem eventually took over in November 2000.

Last month, trouble with the glass panoramic lift delayed the opening. On Monday, operator Heritage insisted that the tower would be opened the following day without any further problems.