THE costs of refurbishing a Merseyside arts centre have spiralled £2.4m over budget.
Sefton Council must find the money to complete the transformation of Southport’s new arts centre. The £18m three-year project has now exceeded its own “worst-case scenario” of £1.4m over budget.
The completion date of the Atkinson centre on Lord Street could be pushed back again to March 2013, months behind schedule.
The local authority and consultants Capita Symonds are at odds over where blame lies.
Council leader Cllr Peter Dowd has ordered a detailed review: “My first responsibility is to get funding sorted. We have got to ensure there are no further funding hiccups and no more surprises.”
Funding will have to come from the ‘single capital pot’ at a time when the council is looking to claw back a £43m budget deficit.
Capita Symonds hit back with a report saying reduced funding from the council meant they had to start work on site “without completing the detailed design.”
Building work started on site before crucial detailed designs were finalised to secure time-specific grants, the company claimed.