Red-faced council bosses have been told failing to appoint a project leader contributed to the shambles around Peterhead’s Drummers Corner revamp.
A new report has gone before members of the Buchan area committee detailing the lengthy project so far, and the lessons that have been learned from it.
The main questions were:
- How much has it cost?
- And why has it taken so long?
When did the Drummers Corner project first start?
Plans to regenerate Drummers Corner first cropped up in 2016 when improvement group Choose Peterhead asked people what they wanted to see in the town centre.
Initially, it was thought that the shelter in place at the time would be upgraded, along with general improvements in the area such as new lighting and seating.
But over time, the project began to grow in both ambition and cost.
In August 2018, councillors approved a £195,000 for a completely new bandstand.
Two years later, Bridge of Don-based KW Contractors agreed to take on the project.
By this time, it had an estimated £285,000 price tag.
Works were expected to start in March 2020 and finish in May – just 20 weeks later.
However Covid forced the country into lockdown, causing construction to halt on the site before it really began.
And building work didn’t pick up again until the following year.
Last August, Aberdeenshire Council agreed to increase the budget to £388,800 to cover rising construction costs.
What’s the latest on Drummers Corner bandstand project?
Buchan area manager Amanda Roe this week told councillors the project is “very close” to completion, seven years after the idea was raised.
But one of the glass panels needs to be replaced first.
She explained the glass is “very robust” once in place, however one was damaged during construction.
The panels on the bandstand and new seating feature images representing Peterhead’s coastal past, present and future.
It was hoped they would complement other art pieces in the town centre, such as the statue of Fisher Jessie and the Pends.
While no date has been set for the work, she said it would be done as soon as possible.
What can be learned?
Ms Roe stressed that lessons can be learned from the Drummers Corner project, but blamed Covid as the reason for the biggest delays.
And despite the multiple hurdles the bandstand has faced, Ms Roe stated she was “genuinely proud” of the finished product.
“It is bold and unique, and that represents the town and the community,” she said.
“I hope it will become part of the many events that take place throughout the year as well as being a catalyst for some new ones.”
What do local councillors think?
Councillor Stephen Smith claimed the lack of a project manager to oversee the site was a “major failing on the part of the council”.
Mr Smith explained how it was a big improvement on what went before.
And the town councillor revealed he had received a lot of positive feedback about the feature, with people seeing how it can be used and benefit the town centre.
He added: “It’s not all negative, but there is a major lesson learning exercise to be taken from this.
“We should remember that people wanted a useable performance area as the previous one was unusable.”
Fellow councillor Matthew James also believed the lack of any project management was partly to blame for the it taking so long to complete.
“Having that from day one would have kept a tighter handle on the project,” he added.