Today, 25th November 2008, work is set to start on The Turner Contemporary, Margate?s new art gallery. This should be great news for the area and something to rejoice, but for those of you familiar with the scheme will know that it has been fraught with problems and has faced huge criticism from the local population with regards to the financial costs incurred, the incompetence from local governance, and the steamrollering of the project based on seemingly unachievable projected visitors.
The world has changed a lot since initial plans were unveiled, and is an art gallery something that Margate and Thanet needs? I thought it would be useful to produce a timeline to show the delays with the project and maybe you will get a sense of frustration felt by locals.
- October 2001: £7,000,000 design unveiled and due to be completed by 2004 (link).
- February 2003: Planning permission granted and due to be completed by 2006 (link)
- August 2005: Work due to begin, and completed by 2007 (costs now £25,000,000) (link)
- October 2005: Projected costs rise to £29,500,000 (link)
- February 2006: Design Scrapped after projected costs rise to £50,000,000 (link)
- April 2006: KCC promises Turner Contemporary will cost no more than £15,000,000 (link)
- June 2007: £17,500,000 design unveiled and due to be completed by 2010 (link)
- February 2008: Planning permission granted and due to be completed by 2010 (link)
- November 2008: Work starts on Turner Contemporary and due to be completed by 2011 (link)
The honest question to ask now is will we see the Turner centre up and running by 2011 (or will it be delayed again), and if so, will it be a success? I would love it to be a success, I would love to see Margate reinvigorated, I would love to see this as the catalyst to a new dawn, but my current opinion is that it won?t. Am I a pessimist? Maybe. Am I a realist? Definitely. Let?s hope I?m wrong.