The Corby Cube roof is leaking AGAIN - halting council meetings at authority HQ

Meetings are having to be held at venues across the north of the county

Friday, 26th November 2021, 5:20 pm
Parts of the Cube were repaired in 2012 after a crack in the glass emerged

A recurrence of a leaking roof at the £48m Corby Cube has forced North Northants Council to move its meetings to different venues only two months after it was announced as the authority's headquarters.

Since September 23, when the newly-formed council said that the iconic Cube would be their civic HQ, no meetings have been able to take place in the council chamber.

Wednesday's (December 1) full council meeting will be held at the former East Northamptonshire Council offices in Thrapston. The last full meeting of the authority on September 29 on was held in the Core Theatre after the venue was changed from the council chamber at the last minute, with the authority citing 'technical issues'.

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The Corby Council chamber cannot be used.

But since then it has emerged that the technical issues were actually a recurrence of a leaking roof in the council chamber.

Meetings of the executive and full council are having to be accommodated in alternative council-owned buildings. These buildings were not initially deemed to be big enough to accommodate all 78 members, and that has now led to concerns over Covid transmission.

One member told this newspaper that he had worries over members, many of whom are vulnerable to Covid because of their age or health issues, being able to socially distance at Wednesday's meeting.

Our reporter has been told that it is expected the roof work will be covered by the authority's insurance, although there are concerns over the fact it is still under investigation two months after it was first discovered.

The roof was originally leaking from the roof garden - which has never had open access to members of the general public.

A North Northamptonshire Council spokesman said: "Investigation works are taking place to understand the full scope of the work required and when that has been completed we will fully understand the cost implications.”

The building, commissioned by the former Corby Borough Council, ran £13m over budget and has a decade-long legacy of structural issues. It opened in 2010 without full fire or building control sign-off, dangerous design issues and a spiral staircase that could not be used.

In 2015 Corby Council meetings had to be held in the canteen after the water began leaking from the rooftop garden into the council chamber. Even now, the garden has never been able to be freely accessed by members of the public.

An extra £600,000 was spent to fix the roof and the fourth floor was only completed five years after the building opened. An audit report was critical of spiraling costs and stated that the financial management of the scheme had spun out of control.

Next week's full council meeting will take place in the Thrapston council chamber

Although the council initially indicated it may sue the architect, last year the authority finally decided that the legal costs may be higher than any funds that could be recouped by successful action.