Green light for theatre repair project set to cost taxpayers millions
PLANS PASSED AMID CRITICISM FROM COUNCILLORS
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
Work on the Globe Theatre at Stockton has been delayed by a year
Councillor Lynn Hall