South Scotland

Dumfries theatre renovation goes £200,000 over budget

Theatre Royal
Image caption The Theatre Royal in Dumfries reopened in time for the 2015 pantomime season

A major renovation of Scotland's oldest working theatre has cost £200,000 more than originally forecast.

Extensive work on the Theatre Royal in Dumfries was originally priced at about £1.9m.

Dumfries and Galloway Council has been told that "unforeseen structural issues" have pushed spending up to £2.11m.

Councillors have now been asked to award an additional £50,000 to the project.

The grant would be in addition to £455,000 the local authority agreed to give to the scheme in May 2013.

The appeal for the additional contribution came from the Master of the Guild of Players of Dumfries - the group which has been the driving force behind the renovation.

Image caption "Unforeseen structural issues" in the auditorium contributed to the increased cost of renovation work

In a report, councillors have been told that the interior walls and ceilings of the original auditorium deteriorated rapidly as the building began to dry out.

That significantly increased mechanical and engineering costs.

There was also an increase in water connection and disconnection charges.

The report added: "The Guild has taken steps to control costs, including substitution of the planned sound system with second-hand equipment, and removal of the planned goods lift from the basement.

"The Guild of Players has provided assurances that it considers there to be no further potential claims under their works contracts."

'National significance'

Council officers have recommended that additional funds are awarded to the Guild of Players.

Colin Smyth, chairman of the economy, environment and infrastructure committee, said the theatre's refurbishment was a "key part" of the regeneration of Dumfries town centre.

"It is a building of national cultural and historic significance which could so easily have been lost to the town had it not been for the refurbishment plans from the Guild of Players," he added.

"Having a first-class theatre venue in our town allows a vibrant programme of events to take place, attracting local people and visitors to our region."

The theatre reopened at the end of 2015, two years after planning permission was awarded for the upgrade work.

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