Staircase safety scheme

WORK could soon start on a scheme to improve safety along the staircase in Morpeth Town Hall.

Earlier this year, the town council received Listed Building Consent to install a glass barrier along the first floor landing balustrades to prevent young children falling through.

Clerk Gillian Turner told members of the Property and Asset Management Committee that several companies had taken a look at the staircase and one provided a quotation.

It has recently submitted detailed drawings and specifications to the county council’s Conservation Officer and if they are approved, the works can begin fairly quickly.

The issue was highlighted in an independent access audit.

This followed a substantial increase in numbers using the building since the relocation of Northumberland Registration Service to the Town Hall and the introduction of weddings and civil ceremonies.

Building regulations stipulate that the gap between balustrades should be no more than 100mm so that children can not pass through, but the distance between the Town Hall staircase balustrades is 220mm, with a five-metre drop onto concrete below.

When the works take place, there will be a minimum amount of fixings to the building and floor and none to the walls, balustrades or handrail.