UNSUPPORTED walls, rotting timbers, a badly-corroded underground drainage system and weaknesses in the roof structure were among the findings when Stockton’s famous Globe was “stripped back to the bare bones” in the summer.
Though the problems were “much, much worse” than expected, a project redesign found solutions to those structural issues and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council recently announced the Grade II-listed Art Deco venue will now open in Spring 2020.
And the Council has now confirmed those solutions, which include structural works and repairs such as a new roof, the installation of reinforcing steel frames, and an entirely new drainage system, will add £2.5million to the final cost of the restoration.
Councillor Nigel Cooke, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Housing, said: “The Globe will be the biggest live entertainment venue between Newcastle and Leeds and will pull an estimated £18million into the local economy every single year.
“We absolutely need to make it happen and the fact is, we’re ambitious for the Borough. If you want to achieve big things you’ve got to deliver big projects. There’s so much public love for the Globe and this is a once in a generation project to bring it back – we simply must get it right and that means doing it properly.
“Once complete, it will complement other great developments like Darlington’s Hippodrome and Middlesbrough’s Town Hall and collectively, they will support the Tees Valley Combined Authority’s ambition to be named City of Culture 2025.”
He added: “We’ve brought a much greater level of ambition to the project since becoming the lead delivery partner. Unlike the early plans for the building, this is now a full restoration – we think it deserves no less and had we not aimed high we would not have been able to attract ATG as operator and with that, the promise of big name acts performing at the venue. Nor would we have been able to make the neighbouring 153 High Street an independent venue in its own right.
“The final costing is very much in line with restorations of historic theatres elsewhere in the country, and like the Globe, these projects have been very complex and challenging too.”
The Council has already committed £13.25million towards the project and the Council’s Cabinet will be asked to support the commitment of the remaining £2.5million when it meets to consider a budget update report next Thursday (December 13).
It will bring the final cost of the restoration to £20.25million, with £4.5million coming from a National Lottery grant secured through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) Heritage Enterprise scheme.
The final report on the Medium Term Financial Plan will then be considered by Cabinet and Full Council in February.
Meanwhile, contractor Willmott Dixon continues to press ahead with the restoration and is currently installing a structure to support the façade of the neighbouring 153 High Street.
Initially a ‘bolt-on’ venue for the Globe, 153 High Street will now be an independent venue that can thrive even when the Globe is closed. The structure will enable the replacement of its roof ahead of the extensive works required to create the new venue.
And the world-renowned ATG, which will operate the Globe and already has theatres in New York’s Broadway and London’s West End, is getting on with approaching big name acts to play the live music and comedy venue.
To keep up to date with the progress of the Globe’s restoration follow the journey on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheGlobeStockton