The reopening of Aberdeen’s art gallery has been delayed once again, with council leaders confirming its doors will not open until Autumn 2019 at the earliest.
Multi-million pound redevelopment works – aimed at making the attraction one of the finest regional galleries in the world – have been beset by setbacks.
The gallery, Cowdray Hall and the Remembrance Hall were expected to open late this year or, at the worst, early next year.
Last night, however, it emerged the £30 million project has been delayed deep into next year.
It is understood that all the construction works will be finished in the coming weeks but an extensive fit-out will then take place to prepare for the return of collections.
The gallery then needs to be carefully refilled with art. Some of the key pieces are currently gracing the walls of galleries around the world.
Council culture and masterplan spokeswoman Marie Boulton said: “Completion of the construction works at Aberdeen Art Gallery is expected in the coming weeks, which will allow the extensive fit-out to begin to prepare for the return of the collections.
“It is expected that the new art gallery will be open to the public in autumn 2019, marking the completion of the landmark redevelopment of one of the city’s most significant historic buildings.
“This once in a generation project is creating a world class visitor attraction which will bring hundreds of thousands of visitors to Aberdeen and be an integral part of the growing tourism and cultural offering which underpins the regional economic strategy.”
Last month Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart called for the city council to confirm the ‘true cost’ of the project, which was initially budgeted at £30 million, prior to the numerous delays announced work began.
He said: “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.
“The statements from the council administration today simply are not detailed enough and a full explanation for this lengthy delay must be forthcoming because people in Aberdeen deserve to know what is going on.”