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Dundee V&A: council chief “damn sure” project will happen despite £31 million shock

The site of the planned V&A Museum.
The site of the planned V&A Museum.

Council bosses are “damn sure” the V&A at Dundee museum will go ahead, despite the project’s budget rocketing by over £31 million.

The shocking cost hike revealed on Friday accompanied news that the jewel in the crown of Dundee’s £1 billion waterfront redevelopment will now open by mid-2018, almost 18 months later than planned.

However, the authority admitted that if construction work on the V&A does not begin by March, the opening date could be pushed into 2019 as this summer’s seal pup season prohibits “disruptive works in the river”.

The original £45 million budget for the Kengo Kuma designed building, subsequently amended to £49 million, has now spiralled to £80.1 million.

A council probe into the rise is under way, with initial findings reporting the building structure’s “highly complex nature” as a key factor.V&A at Dundee £31 million over budget Council chief “damn sure” project will happen despite £31 million shock Spiralling building costs ‘a surprise to all’, claims development chief How huge budget increase will be paid Call for inquiry into ‘who knew what and when’ about rocketing cost Comment:£45 million was ambitious but 78% hike is an embarrassment No amount of sugar coating can make this news taste sweetDundee City Council leader Ken Guild insisted the museum would be completed, saying it would give an £11.6 million annual boost the the Dundee economy.

Speaking at a press conference, Mr Guild said: “The mood we find in Dundee is not a concern about an increased price. This is a capital cost, not a revenue cost, which can be spread over a longer period, so it has no direct effect.

“The main concern from people in Dundee is it might not happen at all. What we are doing this morning is making damn sure it does happen.”

Further funding is being sought from the Scottish Government and private donors with the remainder coming from the council’s capital funding project over the next three years.

The last published proposed opening date for the V&A at Dundee was January 2017.

Asked how the Scottish Government had agreed to an extra £22.61m after being let down “again and again” over timescales for the museum’s opening, Mr Guild said: “The conversations that have happened have been robust and constructive.”

Dundee City Council chief executive David Martin added: “No one is happy that we are having to raise more finance, but there’s a value issue as well as a cost issue.

“The reason the Scottish Government are continuing to work in partnership with us is precisely because they believe the same thing. We are working collboratively and collectively to sort the problem.”

Councillors will be asked on Monday to approve the new funding strategy to allow work to commence in March.

An accompanying report by head of city development Mike Galloway reveals that preparatory work in the river must begin by this date as Scottish Natural Heritage require an embargo on disruptive works there until August due to the summer seal pup season.

The report states: “If a March 2015 start is not achieved, then the construction will be delayed by at least a further six months with consequent impacts on the museum’s opening date and on inflation to the construction costs.

“These potential impacts would be serious in themselves, but of even greater concern is the effect any further delay could have on developer and investment confidence in the Waterfront Project and the rest of the city.”

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