The £19.3million Amelia Scott building, currently under construction on Monson Road, is to be discussed at next week’s Cabinet meeting at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.
The cultural centre, which is set to open in spring next year, has already exceeded its original £13.2million budget, forcing the Council to ask for more money from Kent County Council and the National Lottery Heritage Fund to finalise the project.
Up to now, construction of the Amelia Scott has been ahead of schedule, but the Cabinet is expected to hear next Thursday [March 11] that a combination of factors, including the Covid pandemic and Brexit, is set to delay the completion of the project.
Any expected delay could see costs for the Amelia Scott, which has been named after the nineteenth century Tunbridge Wells suffragist, spiral even further.
The meeting is to be held behind closed doors next week, with members of the press and public barred from attending – due to information being discussed that relates to the financial and business affairs of the private contractors involved.
Cllr Jane March, the Cabinet member responsible for the Amelia Scott, said: “Prior to Christmas The Amelia Scott was the only Heritage Lottery-funded project that had not experienced delays because of Covid-19 in the region.
“We are now projecting that there will be a delay to the anticipated completion date for a variety of reasons including the impact of Covid-19 and some unanticipated issues with the construction.
“We have built three months’ float into the programme between the exterior build and the interior fit out, and are hopeful that the delay can be contained within this.
“We are in the process of working with our contractors and advisors to understand the cost implications of this delay.
“We cannot recall a more challenging time to be undertaking a heritage project of this scale against the backdrop of both Brexit and Covid-19, but we remain absolutely convinced that The Amelia Scott will be a huge asset for the borough.”