Councillors ‘agree plan’ to safeguard Mareel after marathon discussion
Shetland Islands Council says it has agreed a plan to secure the future of cinema and music venue Mareel following a behind closed doors meeting in Lerwick Town Hall lasting over five hours.
But the local authority said it could not give any more details at present. It follows a two-month review of what went wrong during the venue’s construction after councillors agreed to provide a rescue package of up to £600,000 to Shetland Arts, which owns and operates the building, before Christmas.
In a statement issued on Monday evening, a council spokeswoman said: “Shetland Islands Council today agreed a plan to secure the future of the Mareel building as a centre for education, culture and the arts.
“Council officials will meet Shetland Arts Development Agency tomorrow (Tuesday) to discuss the proposals. Because we have to discuss commercially sensitive matters it’s not possible for the council to say anything more now.”
Major Scottish legal firm Brodies Solicitors and accountancy giant PriceWaterhouseCoopers were among those brought in to conduct the council’s review.
The £12 million venue was completed more than 18 months late, sparking an acrimonious legal dispute between Shetland Arts and contractors DITT which has yet to be resolved.
Prior to Monday’s meeting, there had been suggestions that councillors may seek to attach significant conditions to the rescue package, approved to meet the council’s share of a seven-figure overspend on the original budget.