Kent County Council confirmed last week that they will be taking legal action against the architects whose proposals for an offshore art gallery were shelved in 2006 (NCE February 2006). Around £6M was spent on abortive design works.
The initial proposals by Snohetta and Spence put the new Turner Centre gallery for Margate some distance off-shore but the design was scrapped in 2006 when costs escalated from £17M to £48M (NCE 23 Feb 2006).
The increase was blamed on risks involved with building the structure, which would be subject to high winds and crashing waves.
Kent County Council has decided to take legal action, to reclaim its costs. Kent says it expects a settlement next year, if not earlier
Ramboll Whitbybird, who acted as strucural engineers on the project design, have also been in discussions with Kent County Council regarding costs associated with the original scheme (NCE 26 March 2008).
Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Community Services Mike Hill said: "The original design was considered a landmark design and one which would help regenerate Margate by attracting numerous visitors from across the world.
"It was always very ambitious and it later transpired that the cost of completing the project would be well in excess of the budget. It was disappointing that it could not be continued, however it is important that we remain determined in taking the appropriate action to recoup the costs and I hope an amicable settlement can be reached as swiftly as possible."
New designs for Turner Contemporary received planning permission in February. The project is now out to tender and work is expected to start on site in Autumn 2008 ahead of an opening date of 2010.
The new design by 2007 RIBA Stirling Prize winner David Chipperfield Architects will be based on-shore and will play a key role in the regeneration of Margate's eastern seafront.