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Annoyance over state of Barney landmark

PERSISTENT problems at a Victorian council building have attracted criticism.
Leaking gutters, broken masonry and slippery pathways have proved troublesome at Woodleigh, at Scar Top, in Barnard Castle.
Woodleigh was bought for the town by solicitor Ingram Dawson in the early 20th Century. It was taken over by Durham County Council but after a community campaign a “bargain deal” was struck to hand it back to the town.
It is now rented out to Barnard Castle Town Council.
Also home to Teesdale Day Clubs and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB), the building on Scar Top underwent lengthy renovations before staff moved in back in March.
Members of the town council’s resources committee were unhappy with the current state of affairs on Scar Top. Cllr Tony Cooke said: “We are renting this place and we are spending money on things the county council should have sorted out.”
But Cllr David Kinch defended the ongoing repairs.
He said: “We were pushing them so we could get in here and we may have rushed things to get in.”
Town mayor Cllr John Blissett added it was a potentially “sticky wicket”.
Loose flashing and leaking gutters on the roof of Woodleigh have also “led to conversations” about the quality of the work done.
Cllr Cooke said: “We’re getting to the onset of autumn so we need to get it sorted sooner rather than later – it’s only going to get worse.”
Cllr Sandra Moorhouse added: “Doing guttering isn’t too difficult but loose flashing is a different ball game and could damage the rest of the building.”
“Get the job done properly,” urged Cllr Blissett.
An inspection by Durham County Council has also revealed damage to an asbestos-backed cellar door within Woodleigh. Costs for removing the door came in at £364.50 with a replacement estimated at an additional £150.
“Shouldn’t the landlord have the responsibility as far as asbestos I concerned?” asked Cllr Cooke. “Where does it end?”
Cllr Sandra Moorhouse supported getting rid of the problem at the earliest opportunity.
“We have got to support our staff,” she said. “Are we sure the damage was not prior to when we took over?”
Town clerk Michael King said he did not know as the inspections were timed for every three years.
Parking at the rear of the building has also been a bone of contention. Cllr Sandra Moorhouse said: “The feeling from the Woodleigh Working Group is the car park should be for the town council.
“It is a very difficult car park to navigate and it was very frustrating the other day when I could not get out when two cars refused to move.
“I am concerned as we do have disabled councillors.”
Cllr Cooke suggested lines at an angle marking spaces and a new sign saying “council parking only” would solve the problem.
Members agreed to more discussions with Teesdale Day Clubs and the CAB through the Woodleigh Working Group.


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