Council Spends £140k Keeping Vandals At Bay..

More than £140,000 of taxpayers money has been spent on emergency repair work at a disused Hall in the past nine years. The grade II-listed Braunstone Hall has been a target for vandals and arsonists since it closed as a Junior School in 1996. Since May 2001, £144,068 has been spent by the city council on repairs and making the building secure. Much of the work had to be carried out because of deliberate damage done to the hall. The figure was revealed through a Freedom of Information Act request by Lee Clarke, a campaigner for the 18th century hall's restoration. Among the information recorded was £81 spent on installing a light bulb in 2001. Three years, later more than £400 was paid to repair a water leak caused by workers. In 2007, nearly £1,500 was spent by the council on repairing the roof and chimney stack after it was vandalised and a year later more than £13,500 was spent replacing lead stolen from the roof. Mr Clarke, of Braunstone, said he was not surprised by the amount the repairs have cost. He said: "Some of the repairs are really petty - such as paying people to come and pick up broken fences. "I'm glad they have been repairing the building but I think they would have been better off putting some money into developing the hall or on security so this wouldn't have happened in the first place. "In all honesty, somebody would need to be there every hour of the day to stop vandals. "Mr Clarke said his request asked for repair and maintenance figures since the building became empty in 1996. The earliest figure he received was from May 2001. A Council spokesman said: "This is money that has been spent over the past 10 years and is not an unreasonable sum in looking after a building of this nature. "Obviously, in the current climate, it is preferable not to spend unnecessary money, which is why we are actively marketing the hall so it can be restored to its former glory." The document also revealed that there were other parties interested in buying the hall - one keen to use it as a Hotel and Conference Centre, The Shree Krishnagiri Parshwa Padmavathi Charitable Trust (place of worship) and another interested in using it as a Steiner School. The council is currently in the process of re-tendering the hall. This involves the sale of 1.5 acres of green space by Hinckley Road and Winstanley Drive, to raise money which would be used by the developer in liaison with the council to help with renovation costs. The hall would be under a 125-year lease to the developer, which the council said would give it more ability to control the scheme. - Leicester Mercury, Published 2010

Note: some parts of this article have been amended due to newer information being obtained at a later date under the freedom of information act.


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