Arts agency told to pay six-figure sum to DITT

The Court of Session has ordered Shetland Arts to hand over a further six-figure sum to construction firm DITT in relation to the building of Mareel.

Wednesday’s legal ruling means Shetland Arts will have to pay £175,000, plus interest and legal expenses, for several months’ work which DITT claimed it was still owed payment for.

It follows a ruling earlier this autumn ordering Shetland Arts to pay a sum of £200,000, which DITT director Peter Tait said it had now received in full from the arts agency.

Mr Tait said he was “very pleased” that the latest case had been determined in his firm’s favour, adding that the decision was not unexpected.

He said resorting to the courts – further actions are pending – had been “regrettable”, but DITT’s hand had been forced by Shetland Arts’ behaviour. “We hope they [the additional actions] won’t be neces­sary but if so we will pursue them.”

The cinema and music venue went around £1.2 million over its original £12.2 million budget follow­ing an 18-month delay. The original completion date was January 2011, but the building only opened on 25th August this year.

The long-running dispute between Shetland Arts and DITT flared up earlier this month when Shetland Arts said the contract administrator felt nearly two-thirds of the delay had been the fault of the contractor.

Shetland Arts director Gwilym Gibbons accused DITT of erecting a “smokescreen” to hide its failings on the contract. Mr Tait said such claims were “wild, inaccurate and desperate”, and it looks likely that the Court of Session will also be asked to finally determine who was responsible for the £1.2 million overrun. 

At the start of this month councillors agreed a rescue package in the form of a “bridging facility” of up to £600,000 towards settling the bills for Mareel’s construction. Shetland Arts has received pledges totalling £562,000 from Creative Scotland, the European Regional Development Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.


Add Your Comment
  • ian tinkler

    • December 20th, 2012 18:51

    Do not fret Shetland Arts; the donkeys with all our money will always bail you out. Mostly to wet to do much else, have to protect their previous investments in Mareel. Pity about Freefield, our schools, our halls, our music teachers our kids and our elderly. Never mind, always 3D Hobbit in the “Arts” palace.

  • Ted Knight

    • December 21st, 2012 6:54

    That the saga that is Mareel continues unabated will bring pleasure and a sense of vindication to those that doubted the wisdom of its construction.

    But will it suceed, to crush the doubters? I, for one, think yes.

    Good luck to the vision, for to dream is to do.

  • ian tinkler

    • December 21st, 2012 10:36

    Ted, of course Mareel will succeed. How can it fail with our esteemed leaders endlessly pouring more funds into it? The Arts it promotes, no doubt will bring pleasure to many. A very selfish pleasure at a huge cost to Shetlands rural communities, children, and elderly. As for the creative arts, it will showcase but not create anything. Pubs, pubs, bars and cafes have created more art in the last century than flashy gin palaces ever will. Shetlands creative artists did great work before Mareel, just as the great blues, rock, pop and jazz artists worked and created great art out of clubs, pubs bars, tunnels and dives. Has a modern arts centre ever created anything of individual merit for humanity? I can think of very little apart from just hollow empires built for those whom create nothing but make an income on the backs of the creative arts and artists!. Enough said, Happy Christmas to all.

  • stephen shirmer

    • December 21st, 2012 11:45

    How on earth did so much money be ill spent and wasted on a folly for just a few like-minded arty folk, I agree with Mr Tinkler, so much can be done with ALL the
    arts with making do with what you have.

    It will be interesting to see the final bill for all this, art at a very high price.

  • Ted Knight

    • December 21st, 2012 11:46

    Bah and Humbug to you this Christmas, Mr Tinkler – may I recommend an effective antacid?

  • paul bloomer

    • December 21st, 2012 11:54

    Ian if you had been at the Mareel@mareel concert on tuesday night that was put on as a joint collaboration between Shetland college music students (who are based at mareel) and shetland college textile students you would not be making such a ridicoulous staement as you have above that Mareel will not create anything.
    Here is a snippet of one of nine original compositions created for the night on the theme of Mareel (ie the glow in the dark plankton from which the building was named after).Turn up the volume and enjoy.!/photo.php?v=4041436669983

  • Gordon Harmer

    • December 21st, 2012 13:29

    Paul, “one swallow does not a summer make” !

    Ian, keep up the comments and have a great Christmas and all the best for the New “Mareel” I mean Year.

  • Gary Cooper

    • December 21st, 2012 17:38

    Its time to move on from this issue now. Shetland deserves a quality facility such as Mareel. Perhaps the competence of some is questionable, however over the long-term Mareel will serve Shetland well.

  • ian tinkler

    • December 22nd, 2012 7:29

    Paul, did it really need £13.5 and raising in investment for that those creative compositions, you so enjoyed, to be born? Gary, Mareel may serve a few Shetland well in the long term, it has certainly already cost a great many Shetlands dear, in the short term. A great waste of money to all but a very few, how can £13 plus million be intelligently argued as a sound investment, when so many services are being cut. Think of our elderly whom next year will have no Christmas parties in our rural halls and no hot meals in Freefield. Sound investment! Enjoy.


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