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Masonry fall from Darlington town clock sparks investigation
AN investigation is underway after pieces of masonry fell from Darlington’s historic town clock.
The area around the Grade II listed clock tower has been cordoned off by staff from Darlington Borough Council after parts of the facade fell to the ground.
No-one was hurt during the masonry fall and there are no indications that there is a serious problem with the building.
A council spokeswoman said the authority had taken steps to secure the site as soon it was made aware of the incident.
She added: “A structural engineer is due to attend the site next week to inspect the clock tower and to assess its current condition.
“We have an ongoing commitment to inspect and maintain all council buildings and are fully aware of the additional potential risks posed by high level buildings.”
Refurbishment work was done to the highest parts of the tower ten years ago.
Councillor Bill Stenson, one of the longest serving council members, said he was concerned to hear about any damage to the clock, but said he felt confident repairs would be made quickly.
He said: “I think the council has always looked after the town clock. There’s no way the council would let that go to a point where it’s going to cause problems.
“Hopefully it’s just a bit of pointing and they’ll be able to get it fixed. It might only be something small now but it could be a bigger problem soon.”
Although supportive of the work to maintain the town clock, Councillor Stenson has again spoken of his concerns about the state of the High Row steps, installed as part of the pedestrianisation of the town centre.
The steps have been known to slide out of position and Coun Stenson said he was worried that they appear to have moved again.
The council said work to push the stones back into position takes place about twice a year and they are monitored regularly.
Coun Stenson said: “If people fall down them because they are out of place or covered in ice in winter there really will be trouble.
“I go down to the town centre a couple of times a week and I always keep an eye of them and I’ve noticed that some of them are moving again. If they go any further they will become dangerous.”
The council’s spokeswoman said: “Our Highways team regularly inspects the steps in the town centre and any that have worked their way forward are pushed back into place and secured using a silicone gel.”
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