Developer confirms St Neots scheme ‘built in wrong place’


A part-built cinema and restaurant complex in Cambridgeshire is to be taken down and reconstructed after a siting error saw it built roughly 75 centimetres too far north.

Contractor Britannia Construction and developer Turnstone Estates said completion of the £7m Rowley Arts Centre in St Neots would now be delayed by “about four months” to January 2014.

Work on the 32,000 sq feet development, which will include a six-screen Cineworld cinema, four restaurants, three flats, a public plaza, and parking, started in November.

Turnstone managing director Chris Goldsmith said the decision to halt work and rebuild the scheme had been taken to assuage concerns from nearby landowners and deliver the scheme as quickly as possible.

“Although we are only talking about a few centimeters we believe that this is the best solution for all concerned and avoid further delay of these much wanted facilities,” he said.

Britannia Construction managing director Paul Halfpenny blamed “an error in design information” provided to the firm. “This inaccuracy, which was present from the earliest stages of the scheme, sadly wasn’t picked up by any members of the client, design or construction teams,” he said.

“As soon as the miscalculation was identified we have dealt quickly and efficiently to ensure that our client’s instructions are fully complied with, along with our contractual obligations to discharge in accordance with the planning consent.”

When the error came to light, Turnstone submitted a revised planning application for the scheme to Huntingdonshire council, but said the request would now be withdrawn.