Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What a turn up for Turner

I have to say I was extremely sceptical that KCC would get a penny back from money rather naively spent, in my opinion on the original project “Turner Contemporary MK1” which would have been a ground breaking experiment (wrong metaphor) as Britain’s first off shore, ocean going art gallery.

To me the gallery seemed destined to fail from day one, and also the day a test structure floated off with in minutes of being anchored to the sea bed or not as the case may be.

As we all know those boffins at county hall (KCC) who manage these things eventual cancelled the project designed by Snohetta Architects when the projected cost reached the fifty mill mark.white elephant gallery

Frankly I think the contractors are not entirely to blame since their bid was the only one not proposing to build on the Rendezvous site but out to sea, someone at KCC should have spotted the anomaly at the time and thought why has no other bid chosen the sea bed rather than the safe relatively dry land to build on.

Some may recall the public meeting when Paul Carter suggested a more realistic project, also I think he mentioned doing up the Winter Gardens, which he has as far as recall not mentioned again.

Anyway today those businesses sued by KCC have agreed to settle out of court with KCC around the 6 million mark. Well done for once to KCC, anyhow since that money results from the Turner debacle and many have suffered as the timetable for opening has slipped a few years maybe Kent council will have the good grace to spend this money on projects in Margate like improving the Winter Gardens by way of compensation for a cock ups involved with the Turner issue.

I think Chris Wells may well have struck the right note with this comment Chris Wells “This is wonderful news for both KCC and the Turner Contemporary project. The last of the ghosts of the original. Project have now been truly laid to rest, and we can look forward unfettered by the past to the opening of the new gallery in 2011

the agreed press release “Kent County Council, Snohetta AS, Davis Langdon LLP and Ramboll UK Limited have been involved in a dispute and court proceedings in connection with the architectural design, engineering advice, cost advice, project management and intended construction of Turner Contemporary Gallery at Margate. That project was abandoned in February 2006. The parties are pleased to say that they have reached a settlement of the dispute without any admissions as to liability and that the court proceedings have been brought to an end by way of a payment to Kent County Council of £6 million inclusive of interest and costs.”


  1. I would not hold your breath on the Winter Gardens getting a penny of help in the next few years. Thanet seems to rank fairly low on the KCC scale of important enough to worry about.

  2. The Winter Gardens celebrates it's 100th anniversary in 2011, so now would be a good time to inject some cash into it.

  3. It is not a situation where the council is £6million better off but remains £???? worse off having written off an undisclosed percentage of the total project costs.

  4. So according to Chris Wells we just sweep under the carpet the wasted years that have had such a devastating effect on Margate.
    This financial news is great but it doesn't cover all the losses and the missmanagement by KCC is absolutely unforgivable.
    Many businesses have opened and subsequently gone bust waiting for this project and the evidence is all too visible in the lower High Street!

  5. I think once in a while we could just accept good news as just that.

    Of course the performance of Kent's Tories is lamentable and may represent the country's first Loony conservative government in a mirror of those crazy Labour councils of the eighties.

    Just look at the crank spending on health watch Kent tv etc.

  6. At the time of thge los in 2006KCC tried to say that the loss was not really £7 millions. This is what the cabinet member said ;-

    But KCC cabinet member Mike Hill said £4.3m had been carried forward to a new project to build the gallery on land.

    "Auditors have agreed that £4.3m can be considered as a contribution to the project," he said.

    So what happens to the recovered money? I know that laywers costs and the time spent by KCC's staff will take a tidy sum but will the accounting £4.3 millions be replaced by real money?

  7. Clive,the demise of Margate high street is mainly due to wastewood cross as well you know and your party were pro westwood-as soon as it opened M&S Dorothy Perkins River Island etc all pulled out..

  8. Shopping centres are a fact of modern shopping just like the internet is too. Councils are powerless to stop the public voting with their feet or with their keyboards. What the councils have to do is to plan for this decline. You cant blame specific parties for supporting a local shopping centre. Thanet shoppers would just travel further afield rather than use a local high street.

  9. Why couldn't they have built a Westwood Cross style shopping centre in Margate or Cliftonville?

  10. I love the elephant graphic. It could have been a shade whiter.