Redcar and Cleveland Council 'spent £28k rearranging meeting room'

Councillors take part in a meeting in the council chamber Image copyright Teesside Live
Image caption Councillors will no longer used the tiered seating arrangement

A council has spent £28,000 over five years rearranging the layout of its council chamber before and after each meeting, it has been revealed.

Redcar and Cleveland Council's meeting room has a removable floor that can be altered to provide a flat or tiered surface.

The authority, which meets roughly every six weeks, paid £800 per time to set up then take out tiered seating.

One critic said it had "systematically wasted thousands of pounds".

The cost of the work was confirmed to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The council, which is currently not under the control of a single party, has been using the Redcar and Cleveland Community Heart building in Redcar since it opened in 2014.

Glyn Nightingale, cabinet member for resources, said the authority had changed the chamber flooring after every meeting so it could be used for community events, award ceremonies and presentations.

However, while "proud" of the room's flexibility, he said a "practical decision that we no longer need to tier the flooring for council meetings" was made earlier this month.

'Disgraceful waste'

Labour group leader Carl Quartermain said he welcomed the decision.

"It's not just about the cost. There's also a health and safety aspect of it - protecting the backs of the people who have to lift out the floor every time we have a meeting."

But Lee Holmes, Conservative councillor for Skelton West, said: "They have systematically wasted thousands of pounds worth of taxpayers' money paying a removal company to alter the main council chamber for full meetings.

"In my opinion this is a disgraceful waste of money."

Earlier this year the cash-strapped council scrapped the role of chief executive in a cost-cutting move.

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