Green light for the­atre re­pair project set to cost tax­pay­ers mil­lions

PLANS PASSED AMID CRIT­I­CISM FROM COUN­CIL­LORS

Sunday Sun - - News - By Alex Met­calfe alex.met­calfe@reach­plc.com @Mec­s_LDR

Lo­cal democ­racy eporter RE­PAIRS to Stock­ton’s de­lay-hit Globe The­atre project have been given the go-ahead amid crit­i­cism from op­po­si­tion coun­cil­lors.

Dis­cord brewed at Stock­ton Coun­cil’s plan­ning com­mit­tee this week when Con­ser­va­tive coun­cil­lor Lynn Hall at­tempted to “de­clare an in­ter­est” as a bor­ough tax­payer in the de­layed the­atre.

“A £18m price tag and £4m lot­tery fund­ing – I felt it was a per­sonal pe­cu­niary in­ter­est as it does af­fect each and every one of us as coun­cil tax­pay­ers,” said the mem­ber for Hart­burn.

It was an­nounced ear­lier this month the the­atre would re-open a year later than sched­uled when engi­neers found un­sup­ported walls, rot­ting tim­bers, a badly-cor­roded un­der­ground drainage sys­tem and weak­nesses in the roof struc­ture.

Mem­bers agreed unan­i­mously to give the green light for the lat­est re­fur­bish­ments – in­clud­ing a bar/bistro, more toi­lets and of­fices in ad­join­ing 153 High Street.

Coun­cil plan­ning of­fi­cer Si­mon Grundy told pan­el­lists the works in­cluded a re­design which would “ef­fec­tively mean a new roof” for the Globe.

He added: “The struc­tural is­sues are a re­sult of some un­fore­seen prob­lems which are of­ten the case where you strip back the fab­ric and you see things aren’t per­haps con­structed to mod­ern day stan­dards.

“They sim­ply don’t know what to ex­pect.”

Ini­tial plans for the re­fur­bish­ment of the venue would have seen it open in 2012.

Teesside prop­erty firm Jo­mast be­gan restora­tion work in Fe­bru­ary 2011 – with the coun­cil al­lo­cat­ing £1m to a planned £4m venture.

De­lays fol­lowed and Stock­ton Coun­cil took the reins of the stalled restora­tion project in March 2016 – quite in­ject­ing £2.1m of tax­pay­ers’ money.

The author­ity is now putting £13.25m into the scheme – along­side a £4.5m Na­tional Lot­tery grant from the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund’s (HLF) Her­itage En­ter­prise scheme.

Mr Grundy said The Globe was an “iconic and much-loved build­ing” and it was “in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant” to make sure it was passed down to fu­ture generations.

Coun Hall wel­comed the three year time limit set on the lat­est re­pairs and had ques­tions about the ma­te­ri­als lined up for the the­atre’s in­te­rior.

She added: “I have no con­cerns about the ex­ter­nal fin­ishes be­cause it’s very iconic and art deco but for its in­te­rior, if we were to use cheaper ma­te­ri­als and be sym­pa­thetic to the art deco style would that still be valid for the list­ing?”

“Be­cause I’ll re­mind you we did, not in sym­pa­thy in my mind, put UPVC win­dows in Yarm Li­brary in a con­ser­va­tion area.”

Mr Grundy said the three year limit was stan­dard.

“But as we all know work is pro­gress­ing hope­fully it will be com­plete very soon and open for busi­ness,” he

Work­ers have now made the roof wa­ter­tight and all as­bestos has been re­moved added. And he did not think it was right to com­pare Yarm Li­brary to the Globe as it “war­ranted its own spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tions”.

The coun­cil an­nounced The Am­bas­sador The­atre Group (ATG) as the the­atre’s op­er­a­tor for the next 25

IAN MCIN­TYRE

Work on the Globe The­atre at Stock­ton has been de­layed by a year

Coun­cil­lor Lynn Hall

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