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Turner Contemporary costs battle heads towards settlement

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The legal battle surrounding the wasted costs on the doomed Snøhetta and Spence Associates' Turner Contemporary Centre project in Margate looks to be heading towards an out-of-court mediation.

Back in November Kent County Council set the legal wheels in motion in a bid to recoup £7 million in aborted costs racked up as a result of the demise of the overly ambitious seafront gallery (Legal action looming following Turner Contemporary debacle).

Speaking to the AJ, the council's cabinet member for communities, Mike Hill, confirmed that the authority was still pursing the matter against the design team and that 'progress was being made'.

He said: 'No doubt if we had been advised - as we should have been - that the [original] scheme was not possible, then we would have saved some money.'

Predicted costs on the scheme ballooned from £17.6 million to almost £40 million before the project was pulled in February 2006 - but not before the council had already spent £7 million.

Meanwhile, work on David Chipperfield's replacement museum proposals - dubbed Turner Mark II - appears to be coming along well.

Having already held a number of well-attended consultation meetings with local residents, the council is expecting to see the 'final shape' of the new proposals - effectively designed up to stage C - later this month.

However, the Chipperfield scheme will not be officially unveiled to the expectant public until 18 June, when a crowd of up to 700 people is expected to pack out Margate's Winter Gardens to get its first glimpse of the new design.

by Richard Waite

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