Council to give ageing theatre revamp extra £2m funding

More than £25m has already been secured for the project - which started before the Covid pandemic.

Glasgow City Council to give Citizens Theatre revamp extra £2m STV News

Glasgow City Council is set to contribute an extra £2 million towards the revamp of the Citizens Theatre, which has been hit by delays and rising costs.

More than £25m has already been secured for the project — which started before the Covid pandemic — but more funding is needed to complete the work.

The council has previously agreed to put £6 million into the scheme, which is the “first comprehensive renovation in the building’s 140 year history”. 

It was closed in 2018 and work was initially expected to be completed in two years at a cost of £19m.

Officials have said the project will “secure the future of an ageing and vulnerable building as an essential theatrical, creative and cultural hub”, but have reported it is “once again facing significant funding challenges”.
The additional £2m from the council — which councillors will be asked to approve on Thursday — will be conditional on other funders providing more cash.

A report by council officials states: “Similar to a large number of construction projects, covid has a significant negative impact on this project both in terms of delay and cost.”

It adds many projects have “found themselves in financial difficulty post-covid as a result of global socio-economic factors which have led to unprecedented levels of inflation”.

“This has especially impacted projects which were tendered and awarded pre-covid, then had to endure an extended period of inactivity during covid, further exacerbated by significant inflationary rises post-covid.”

The redevelopment of the council-owned B-listed theatre, which is leased to Citizens Theatre Ltd, has been described by officials as a “beacon project in the Laurieston regeneration area” and “a response to deteriorating heritage building”. 

Of the over £25m provided so far by a range of funders, almost 23% has come from the council while around 30% is from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Scottish Government has contributed around 7.5% and Creative Scotland has put in over 5%.

The council report states it is “unlikely that the project will be able to be concluded under the terms of the agreed contract” and a settlement is required.

In December last year, the National Lottery Heritage Fund added £2.5m but said “they would not be in a position to provide any additional increase”.

Talks are ongoing with the UK and Scottish governments over extra money and officials have reported these have been “positive”.

Glasgow’s additional £2m would come from the council’s ‘common good fund’.

The report adds: “It is hoped that this additional funding, along with funding secured from other sources, will enable the project to be completed as originally planned, and create a financial envelope, within which, an appropriate commercial settlement with the contractor can be negotiated.”

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