The scaffolding has finally been removed from an historic Aberdeen building, following multimillion-pound repair works which went nearly three times over the original budget.
The refurbishment on the Town House roof began in August 2014, but was subsequently hit by delays with the cost spiralling to more than £4million, from an original estimate of £1.2m.
Last night, a fresh row broke out over who was to blame for the soaring costs, with the Labour-led administration and the SNP opposition blaming each other.
The renovation was originally due for completion by September 30 last year, with hopes that the scaffolding at the 19th-century building could be taken down by the new year.
The repairs were ordered after lead fell from the roof at the corner of Castle Street and Broad Street, but contractors have encountered a series of complications.
It was discovered that there were structural issues within the town house, including rotten wood in its four towers and loose granite masonry on an attached building.
Finance convener Willie Young argued the spiralling cost was the result of years of neglect from the previous administration.
He said: “Aberdeen’s heritage is really important to its citizens and, when we found out that the SNP had neglected the Town House to such an extent when they were in office, we were faced with a choice – that was to carry out the proper repairs or do minor work.
“We decided to carry out the proper works to the building to make sure it would never be in that state of neglect again.”
But last night, the SNP opposition claimed the final cost of the work was an “embarrassment” for the city and the ruling administration.
Stephen Flynn, the group’s leader, said: “A near 300% increase in costs to fix the Town House roof is nowhere near acceptable and once again highlights that this Labour, Tory and independent administration have a complete disregard for spending public money.
“I am, of course, delighted that the work has now been finished, but this saga has been an embarrassment for Aberdeen and the manner in which the council operates its projects simply has to change.”