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Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate encased in scaffolding during £1.6m restoration works

One of Kent's most striking buildings is encased in scaffolding while it undergoes £1.6 million of restoration work due to last almost a year.

The Turner Contemporary on Margate seafront remains covered while contractors restore the glass exterior and boost its fire protection to the latest standards.

The work on the Turner Contemporary in Margate is set to last almost a year
The work on the Turner Contemporary in Margate is set to last almost a year

The £17.5 million building, designed by award-winning architect Sir David Chipperfield, was largely funded by Kent County Council (KCC) and the Arts Council.

The project will involve removing the outer glass panels for cleaning and repair and installing new fire protection material.

The building, owned by KCC, is not considered a fire risk but the works are necessary to bring it up to the latest prevention standards.

A spokesman for the authority said: "The works include the removal, renovation and re-installation of the current glass cladding system as part of a 10-year maintenance plan.

“The budgeted cost is £1.6 million. The temporary removal of the cladding provides the opportunity to ensure the structure meets all new building regulations.

Margate's Turner Contemporary is undergoing restoration works
Margate's Turner Contemporary is undergoing restoration works

“The project, commissioned by KCC and carried out by Ramsgate company WW Martin as the main contractor, is scheduled to take up to 42 weeks - subject to the weather - and the gallery will remain open throughout.”

Its close proximity to the sea and elements means there is a risk the structure could be affected and needs to be checked.

Just under £1.5 million had originally been budgeted for the work in the Turner's "life-cycle fund", for which the council sets aside an annual contribution.

However, it later emerged the project, which started in October, required an additional contribution of just over £100,000 from the authority to ensure the building met all of the latest standards.

KentOnline reported last month that council bosses wrote to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to warn that without government help it faces bankruptcy within two years.

The gallery opened in 2011, but its appearance and cost has always divided opinion, with some calling it an architectural masterpiece and others branding it ugly.

The building, which was visited by the late Queen in 2011, has been credited with boosting the fortunes and artistic reputation of Margate, as well as bringing increased tourism to the town.

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