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.