New builders sought as T & A Kernoghan removed from second contract in a month

Gorebridge community hubThe volunteer-run charity behind a new £2.2 million community complex and office space for Midlothian is seeking new contractors to complete the centre after terminating the contract of previous builders.

The Gorebridge Community Development Trust has removed T & A Kernoghan from the deal and brought in 24 hour security at the Gorebridge site while moving to appoint new contractors.

South Ayrshire Council took the decision to remove the same contractor from a £1.5m golf clubhouse project due to various delays last month.

The Trust’s decision came after serious delays in the centre’s construction, which was first scheduled to open in April this year. The two storey wood-clad building, in front of the existing Gorebridge Leisure Centre, remains covered in scaffolding.

Since the building is currently halfway complete, the Trust is bringing in a short term contractor to make the building wind and water tight in the next few weeks while running a second procurement process.

Gail Halvorsen, co-chair of the Gorebridge Community Development Trust, said: “We’ve taken this step, following legal and other professional advice, as the best way to move this project forward and get the building finished and open as soon as we can.

“The last few months have been extremely frustrating for the Trust and people in Gorebridge who will have seen the lack of progress first hand.

“We’re working closely with our funders to get a replacement contractor in place as quickly as possible. We know people have been patient so far and we’re sorry to have to ask for more patience but we’ve had no option to take this step given the advice we’ve received. We’ll of course continue to keep people informed as the project moves forward.”

The two storey complex looking out to the Pentlands is set to house a Surestart nursery, a youth facility, three halls, a community cafe and offices for rent.

It is too early to say when the building will now be open for use, nor confirm any financial impact the delays and second procurement process may cause, although estimates of this were taken into account in the Trust’s decision-making.

The project is funded by a mixture of grant and loan from Midlothian Council, the Big Lottery, and the Scottish Investment Fund, managed by Social Investment Scotland, with around half the expected work completed and paid for.

“We are extremely grateful to our partners, who have experience of this kind of thing happening elsewhere, for their continued support and advice,” added Halvorsen.

Other activities for the Trust will continue unaffected by the situation around the new community hub, with the construction project effectively ring-fenced in the charities’ financial arrangements.

The Hunterfield Road construction site is now protected by 24 hour security augmented by CCTV cameras and special arrangements will be made to ensure appropriate and respectful access to the village World War One memorial for the November commemorations.

Scottish Construction Now has contacted T & A Kernoghan and is currently awaiting reply.

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