The price of the long-awaited revamp of Aberdeen Art Gallery has rocketed by £4.5 million, according to newly-published council papers.
Initially billed at £30 million and scheduled to open by winter 2017, the project includes the installation of a new copper-clad roof, exhibition space and a rooftop area.
But it has suffered a number of setbacks and is now due to have its grand re-opening this autumn, with workers currently adding the finishing touches to the construction.
The original cost of the project was split into three, with £10 million coming from the city council, £10 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the final £10 million from public donations.
But the local authority’s SNP group says just £3.8 million of that final third has been collected so far – and the extra costs to the project revealed in this week’s budget papers are “more than wiping out” all that has been gathered through fundraising.
The group leader, Stephen Flynn, branded the administration’s handling of the project “a shambles”.
He said: “The true cost of their complete inability to manage projects in our city is once again clear for all to see.
“At a time when the council is facing an extremely challenging future the administration must apologise for once again squandering money on delays and overspends.
“I feel really sorry for those who have donated their hard-earned cash to this project as their generosity has effectively been wiped out by this administration’s overspend.
And he quipped: “It has previously been suggested that the next art exhibition in Aberdeen should be a pile of burning cash and I doubt that many members of the public would disagree with those sentiments.”
But council co-leader Douglas Lumsden has hit back at the claims, slamming critics for only complaining – rather than working together to find ways to improve the situation.
He said: “Making Aberdeen a vibrant place to invest and live in is a priority for the council administration.
“Councillor Flynn continues his woeful track record of spending his time on press releases and offering nothing constructive.
“One day he’ll wake up and realise he’s the convener of the audit, risk and scrutiny committee and will start playing his role as a senior councillor – instead of putting the city down at every opportunity.”