(447)  HOLYROOD: BRUSSELS STEPS IN

On the day before episode 3 of The Gathering Place (16 March 2005), the European Commission announced that a letter had been sent to the UK Government requesting information and explanations of possible breaches of EU public procurement rules, not only with regard to the contract tendering process (already the subject of litigation in the Court of Session – see Nos 413, 428), but also with regard to the procedure for appointing the project architect (Enric Miralles); the problems in the latter case being the insufficiency of Miralles’ insurance cover to meet the requirements of the design competition, and the lack of independence from the client (the Scottish Office, as it then was) of the committee deciding the competition, since its membership included not only two Scottish Office civil servants but also Donald Dewar, then Secretary of State.  For the text of the Commission’s press release, see http://europa.eu.int/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/05/314&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en

The Gathering Place itself continued in episode 3 to reveal the stresses and strains within the design team as the project developed in 2002.  The final episode will be shown on 22 March 2005.  Better news for Holyrood came on 18 March: the building has won the Edinburgh Architectural Association’s Centenary Medal, as a work of outstanding architectural merit.

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