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Margo Macdonald MSP
"The plans should be re-assessed"
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John Morrison reports
"MSPs are concerned about what the parliament will cost"
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Tuesday, 8 February, 2000, 19:53 GMT
Parliament 'heading for 100m overrun'

Holyrood model The proposed buildings are in the shadow of Arthur's Seat

The former project manager for the new Scottish Parliament has predicted that the building will be a year late and will cost up to 100m more than originally estimated.

The building, designed by Spanish architect Enric Miralles was scheduled for completion by the end of next year.

Bill Armstrong, who was in charge of the work throughout 1998, has told BBC Scotland it will not be completed on time.

Enric Miralles, architect The building was designed by Enric Miralles
He resigned because he felt no-one was paying heed to his warnings that the project price was spiralling and the completion date was slipping.

Mr Armstrong said: "A harder line should have been taken with the design team to impress on them that time was off the essence as far at that was concerned, and also that the budget was there.

"I don't think it will be finished on September 2001 which was the target date.

"Perhaps 12 months afterwards, but certainly I doubt very much that it will be finished in that programme."

Project hit by delays

The project has been dogged by delays and spiralling costs.

When the idea of building a new parliament was first mooted, the cost was put at a maximum of 40m.

By March 1998 the original estimate had doubled - because consultants fees, VAT and the purchase of the site had not been included.

Building site Building work continues at Holyrood
Last November, the cost had increased to 109m and was still rising.

Mr Armstrong has suggested the final bill could be 150m.

The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body, which is in charge of the building project, said it would report to MSPs by the end of February.

It expressed concern at what were described as "inaccurate assertions" about the Holyrood project.

MSPs' anxiety

There has been considerable discomfort amongst MSPs about the rising cost of the project.

Conservative MSP Murray Tosh said: "I think it makes for terrible public cynicism and disillusionment when the timetable keeps being stretched out and the cost which has been estimated in the first place keeps on rising.

"I think we really should have had a fairly tight estimate on both counts and we should have been able to stick to what we said."

The former Royal High School building on Calton Hill, which was converted in the 1970s for the purpose of hosting a Scottish Parliament but never used, was dismissed as unsuitable.

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See also:
13 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Glasgow's miles better for parliament
22 Apr 99 |  The Scottish Parliament
Building for the future
21 May 99 |  UK Politics
MSPs demand rethink on parliament
09 Jan 98 |  Politics
Where will the Scottish parliament be?
19 Nov 99 |  Scotland
Parliament ponders Royal High flit

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