Owen Temple & Margaret Nealis

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Standards in Public Life

by Owen Temple on 11 March, 2016


Today I visited the former North site of Consett Academy (aka Blackfyne).

A local sports club had asked if they could look round and salvage anything of use to them, and I invited myself along to see if I could see anything that would be of use to local community groups. A bit too late as it turned out – on arrival we were told that today was the last day anyone would be allowed into the building before it goes into lockdown ready for demolition, and everything left would simply be skipped and destroyed.

A lot of stuff had gone already, but there were still a number of serviceable desks, filing cabinets, tables, some chairs etc. It was frustrating to have no time to get in touch with community groups. And then I saw this chair. At least I could salvage that, I thought, for my own use and make a donation to the Chairman’s Charity. I was kindly given a lift back home with it by one of the sports club members and fired off an email to check if my plan was OK.

It wasn’t. There is no protocol at the County Council that could enable such a transaction. All materials worth salvaging would already have been taken for redeployment within the council or, if not required, offered to suitable parties. Anything left on site would therefore, by definition, not be serviceable.

But there’s the rub. This chair is in almost mint condition. In that case (though of course it it unthinkable that it could have slipped through the net) it would have to be returned to the council for redeployment. I shall be doing that next week.

This leaves me with three thoughts.

  1. It’s good to know that people in elected positions cannot take advantage of those positions.
  2. It’s a crying shame that perfectly serviceable desks, chairs and tables will be disappearing into landfill rather than finding homes with hard-pressed community groups.
  3. If there’s an uncomfortable local government officer out there who would benefit from a Topstar D-86863 operator’s chair they should put their bid in now. I expect to return it to Member support on Monday.
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