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Turner Centre Mark II follows in footsteps of predecessor - image

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Promises about the cost of the new Turner Centre Mark II in Margate have been left in tatters after it emerged that the replacement for Snøhetta and Spence's original designs has already rocketed over budget.

Kent County Council (KCC) has admitted that the latest art gallery proposals, designed by David Chipperfield, will come in at £2.4 million more than the original £15 million limit.

The unexpected hike flies in the face of public assurances from KCC that the costs of the new centre would not balloon above the budget cap - as with Snøhetta and Spence's original proposals.

In February last year the authority ditched Snøhetta and Spence's plans for an ambitious pebble-like scheme in the English Channel (pictured above) after the costs of the much-delayed project spiralled out of control to nearly £50 million.

Shortly after launching a competition to find a replacement 'on-shore' gallery, KCC leader Paul Carter famously guaranteed that any new project would have to stay well within the tight budget ( New plans for Margate's contentious Turner Contemporary revealed ).

However, the council is now calling for extra funds because the new gallery could be vulnerable to sea flooding.

According to local paper Kent Messenger Group councillor Mike Hill, KCC's cabinet member for communities, said: 'The £15 million was an estimate made when we did not even have architects appointed.

'When they were appointed we ended up with extras relating specifically to the condition of the site and the need to make it 'fit for purpose'.'

He added: 'There is an inherent risk of the sea over-topping the sea wall which is minimal but nevertheless means the building requires protection.'

Meanwhile the fate of legal action to recover 'aborted' costs from the design teams on the Turner Centre Mark I project appears to be hanging in the balance.

It is understood that KCC has recently transferred around £2.5 million from its reserve fund to cover some of the authority's losses.

by Richard Waite

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