Scottish ministers have been urged to directly oversee the project to restore the Glasgow School of Art building amid fears the work is now “back to square one”.
Glasgow MSP Paul Sweeney raised concerns about the timetable for rebuilding the historic structure – originally designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh – after it was extensively damaged by fire in June 2018.
That was the second blaze on the site in just over four years, with flames once again engulfing the building just as a £35 million restoration programme was nearing completion following the original fire in May 2014.
Mr Sweeney noted that while the historic Notre Dame cathedral in Paris had been hit by fire in 2019, restoration work on it is scheduled to be completed next year.
The Labour MSP told Holyrood: “There is scarcely a bigger icon for Scotland’s social history than the Glasgow School of Art.
“Yet we are almost five years on from the second disastrous fire with a predicted completion date of 2030.”
Reports earlier this month suggested art school bosses will have to go back to the drawing board over the hiring of a design team to lead the restoration process after a “technical error” in the procurement process, and Mr Sweeney said that had effectively put the “rebuild effort back to square one”.
Raising the issue with culture minister Neil Gray, he asked: “Will the minister for culture now instruct that the project be directly overseen by Scottish ministers in order to get the restoration of this international architectural icon back on track?”
Mr Gray stressed the Scottish Government recognises the “cultural importance of the Glasgow School of Art”, adding there is an “unfortunate history” to work to restore the building.
The minister said: “It has been a difficult journey, it is one that we continue to support, the restoration work, and hope that it can be concluded as quickly as possible.”
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