Inquiry call as V&A museum cost balloons to £80m

An artist's impression of the main hall at the Dundee V&A museum. Picture: Contributed

An artist's impression of the main hall at the Dundee V&A museum. Picture: Contributed

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THE Scottish Government has been called on to intervene in the V&A Dundee museum project after it was revealed that it will cost more than £80 million to complete, almost twice the original price, with its opening delayed by a year-and-a-half.

The cost of building the museum on the banks of the Tay has ballooned from the original approved budget of £49m to £80.11m and it is anticipated it will not open until June 2018.

V&A Dundee. Picture: Contributed

V&A Dundee. Picture: Contributed

The SNP-led local authority made the bombshell announcement yesterday, prompting the accusation from Labour group leader Councillor Kevin Keenan that it had concealed the real cost of the design museum.

According to a report on the project, due to be discussed by the council’s policy and resources committee, around £6.6m of the extra cost would come from private fundraising while the Scottish Government has been asked to contribute further through a funding strategy.

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An additional £4.5m is being sought from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the remaining £6.5m can be accommodated within the capital programme for 2015-18, the report said.

Councillor Ken Guild, Dundee City Council leader, said the V&A was a “crucial development in the aspirational project to provide Dundee and Scotland with a world-class museum which will help to provide jobs and wider economic benefits”.

He said he was confident the council could “deliver this project for a unique building to the new timescales and budget,” and “without causing any impact on other important services”.

Kengo Kuma’s design for the building was selected in 2010, but the architect’s original concept was scaled back because of fears over costs. Site preparation work has also been delayed. The council has said that, once open, the museum will give an £11.6m boost to the local economy

Mr Keenan described the new figure as “astonishing”.

He said: “I have previously asked for detailed briefings on costings on a confidential basis and have been refused. It is unacceptable my colleagues and I have been kept in the dark about this staggering the cost of the V&A whilst the SNP administration has been fully informed.

“I want to see a successful project brought to fruition that brings jobs to Dundee. But I am very, very concerned that the risk still appears to lie with Dundee City Council and the hard-pressed council taxpayers.

“I think the Scottish Government [should] step in and underwrite this whole project which is of national importance.”

Labour’ shadow secretary for culture, Claire Baker MSP, called for an immediate inquiry.

A government spokesman said it was discussing the shortfall with the project board.

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