A delay to the reopening of Aberdeen Art Gallery has been branded “deeply disappointing”, by the co-leader of the city council.
As revealed in later editions of yesterday’s Evening Express, the reopening of the facility has been delayed until autumn next year.
The £30 million redevelopment was already delayed and had been pushed back to between late 2018 and early 2019 from its original December 2017 opening date.
MSP Kevin Stewart, who represents Aberdeen Central, has called on the council to give a “full explanation” for the delay, adding the people in the city “deserve to know what is going on”.
He added: “It is galling that the city council has announced opening the art gallery is going to take even longer with no real explanation as to why, when only last month they refused to say how much this project is costing.
“This building is an important part of our cultural offering and heritage, yet Aberdonians are being shut out of it for even longer.
“Many people may wonder if poor management by a Tory and suspended-Labour coalition city council may have something to do with these repeated failures on delivery time.”
Although the facility will not open until autumn 2019, completion of the construction work is expected in the coming weeks, with a fit-out to follow.
Council bosses have said the “once in a generation project” will create a “world-class” visitor attraction which will bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city.
Douglas Lumsden, co-leader of the council, said: “I am delighted that Kevin Stewart has now seen the errors of the SNP group at Aberdeen City Council and now recognises that Aberdeen Art Gallery is an important part of the city’s cultural offering and heritage.
“It is deeply disappointing that the art gallery has been delayed.
“However, citizens will remember that if the SNP had been in charge of Aberdeen City Council, the upgrade would never have happened.”
SNP group leader Stephen Flynn added: “In the time it has taken for Dundee to stick a spade in the ground and build the V&A, we haven’t even been able to redevelop an art gallery.
“Constant delays to key projects are all too common for this administration and they now need to hold up their hands and apologise to the people of Aberdeen.
“The big question now is whether these further delays have resulted in costs soaring even higher.”