Side Stepping Democracy

In April 2012 the theft of lead gutter linings and flashings occurred from the roof of the Prince’s Hall (and to a lesser extent the attached Queens Theatre). The Conditions of Lease required the
City Council to maintain adequate insurance in the event of loss or damage to the buildings.  On 12th November 2012 Stoke-on-Trent City Council appointed Kier (Stoke) Limited to undertake necessary repair and reinstatement work commenced on the East wing of the Hall, Scaffolding was erected during July/August 2013 at the West (Wedgewood Street) wing and a similar process of gutter re-lining commenced at the end of September 2013.

November 2014  Councillor Wazir, The Chair of City Renewal Overview and Scrutiny Committee agreed to allow a decision to go directly from officers directly to the Cities Cabinet members as URGENT. This effectivley skipped the democratic process and prevented the officers new report to be scrutinised by council members especially as Council Officers were now denying any responsibility to their care of duty they had to our Heritage.

An issue 30 months old was deemed urgent, sorry but the urgency of the decision was back in 2012, when the correct works on repair and reinstatement should have taken place.

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During the attempted repairs by Kier (Stoke) Limited in 2013 the presence of a bituminous coating applied to the buildings original slate roof covering by the City Council caused complications to the gutter re-lining process. Due to difficulty in economic salvage and re-use the bitumen contaminated slate needed to be removed and discarded over substantial areas of the affected roofs. Then in October 2013 Kier (Stoke) Limited advised that some areas of timber decay had been revealed during slate removal and that work was to be suspended for a limited period pending a decision by the Council on how matter should progress. Tarpaulin and other temporary coverings were attached by Kier (Stoke) Limited to the otherwise exposed roof. Standing scaffold was retained on hire and at cost along with some items of access plant and equipment.

Since October 2013 no further progress with insurance repair has been made and the temporary roof coverings have subsequently proved insufficient to adequately protect and preserve the affected roof areas. In consequence water entry has caused extensive and very severe damage to the internal fabric of Prince’s Hall.
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