Colchester: £2m more to finish off new art gallery

Gazette: Building works to finish the Visual Arts Facility will cost an estimated £7.3 million, almost a third of which could come from Colchester Council coff Buy this photo Building works to finish the Visual Arts Facility will cost an estimated £7.3 million, almost a third of which could come from Colchester Council coff

TAXPAYERS in Colchester are to be hit with an estimated £2 million bill to complete the town’s controversial new art gallery.

A £7.3 million shortfall in finishing the troubled Firstsite Newsite gallery has been identified, and Colchester Council deputy leader Martin Hunt said he believed the borough’s bill could more than double the £1.75 million already contributed by the council.

The overall cost of building the Visual Arts Facility (Vaf) is now estimated at £25.5 million – £9 million more than the original estimated cost.

Last year, a series of problems meant a further £1.75 million had to be added to the budget, paid for by partners Colchester Council, Essex County Council, the East of England Development Agency and the Arts Council of England.

As part of that agreement, Colchester Council agreed not to ask for any more funds, but Mr Hunt said discussions were under way with the partners to help fund the remaining shortfall.

Mr Hunt told the Gazette a request for further money would probably be made at next month’s cabinet meeting and then at full council the following week.

“I’m pretty sure the other funders will help us out,” he said.

Full story in the Gazette

Comments (5)

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3:50am Wed 19 Nov 08

Boris says...

The extra cost will be far greater than £2 million.
The extra cost will be far greater than £2 million. Boris
  • Score: 0

8:31am Wed 19 Nov 08

hughie-s says...

Already £9m over budget and they estimate the final cost at £25.5m. Given their previous estimating skills more likely to by £52.5m.

The £15m to pull it down and pay everyone back could be the cheaper option!
Already £9m over budget and they estimate the final cost at £25.5m. Given their previous estimating skills more likely to by £52.5m. The £15m to pull it down and pay everyone back could be the cheaper option! hughie-s
  • Score: 0

1:47pm Wed 19 Nov 08

crazyone says...

If in hindsight it could have been built together with the community stadium, then it would have been cheaper to build and easier for people to get to.Plus better car parking could have been built, but alas do they ever listen?
If in hindsight it could have been built together with the community stadium, then it would have been cheaper to build and easier for people to get to.Plus better car parking could have been built, but alas do they ever listen? crazyone
  • Score: 0

1:52pm Wed 19 Nov 08

Taj says...

We didnt see this one coming did we
We didnt see this one coming did we Taj
  • Score: 0

10:42pm Wed 19 Nov 08

Andy Hamilton says...

This financial disaster was inevitable because councillors ignored the facts. They believed this american architect and even during the planning stage ignored the majority against the present VAF.

The Council kept every construction report on the Visual Arts Facility secret. Despite frequent requests this Council refuses to let the public see the reports on the design failures and constructional problems. The original design was flawed from the start and this was concealed from the public. The computer modelling was unable to cope with the complex geometry and this was concealed from the public. The complex roof was a nightmare to build given the design specifications and this was concealed from the public. Even now they only release minimal information despite spending another £1.4million of public money to make the building weathertight.

Next Finance meeting 25th November will be about the VAF. I will make one last plea to halt this obscene waste of money. If they refuse to mothball the Visual Arts Facility, then the Council will find things getting progressively more difficult.

I will approach the relevant ombudsman over the illegal cover-up of the poorly done Colchester Council accounts audit. Similarly I am contemplating appropriate action over the illegal withholding of information by the Council accounts department during the public access period. I think Colchester Council will find it somewhat time-consuming but they could save themselves a lot of humiliation by mothballing the VAF. As a "temporary" measure there would be no grants to repay and the Firstsite committee would be left alone!
This financial disaster was inevitable because councillors ignored the facts. They believed this american architect and even during the planning stage ignored the majority against the present VAF. The Council kept every construction report on the Visual Arts Facility secret. Despite frequent requests this Council refuses to let the public see the reports on the design failures and constructional problems. The original design was flawed from the start and this was concealed from the public. The computer modelling was unable to cope with the complex geometry and this was concealed from the public. The complex roof was a nightmare to build given the design specifications and this was concealed from the public. Even now they only release minimal information despite spending another £1.4million of public money to make the building weathertight. Next Finance meeting 25th November will be about the VAF. I will make one last plea to halt this obscene waste of money. If they refuse to mothball the Visual Arts Facility, then the Council will find things getting progressively more difficult. I will approach the relevant ombudsman over the illegal cover-up of the poorly done Colchester Council accounts audit. Similarly I am contemplating appropriate action over the illegal withholding of information by the Council accounts department during the public access period. I think Colchester Council will find it somewhat time-consuming but they could save themselves a lot of humiliation by mothballing the VAF. As a "temporary" measure there would be no grants to repay and the Firstsite committee would be left alone! Andy Hamilton
  • Score: 0
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