A COUNCILLOR has criticised the extensive delays to the completion of the multi-million pound restoration of the Grade II-listed Globe Theatre.

The Stockton theatre, which hosted the Beatles in the 1960s, was planned to re-open in 2012 but structural damage and mounting refurbishment costs have now delayed this until Spring 2020.

Stockton Borough Council revealed last month that severe structural damage, including rotting timbers and unsupported walls, were uncovered in the summer.

And now Conservative councillor, Matthew Vickers has told the local authority to “get a grip” over the multimillion-pound refurbishment project as undetected structural damage was recently found.

He said: “We still don’t know how much more the work is likely to cost and the council are refusing to guarantee there won’t be further delays and further costs – they [Stockton Borough Council] really need to get a grip on this project.”

The Hartburn councillor also raised questions over the structural surveys carried out before refurbishment began.

It is expected the restoration project will now cost more than £10m.

“The Globe has the potential to do great things for the town but there should be no blank cheques when dealing with taxpayers’ money…it might be the Globe but it shouldn’t cost the earth,” he added.

Stockton Borough Council previously admitted there were "too many" problems to list in a statement regarding the Globe’s extensive refurbishment.

A spokesperson for the council blamed extensive water damage to plaster, timbers and steelwork and an unsupported wall on Middle Street, for the new delays.

Cllr Nigel Cooke said the council is not "messing about" with the refurbishment project and that remedial work was briskly underway.

He said: “We’ve brought forward the aspects that we can crack on with while the redesign work has been going on in the background.

“Though it may not look like it from the outside, we’ve actually made a lot of progress on the inside, including asbestos removal, a ‘soft strip’, and completion of all major demolition works.

“What we can say for sure is that the restoration is happening at the fastest pace possible, and that we will be bringing this fantastic venue back into use – there is absolutely no doubt about that.”

THE BEATLES: The Fab Four at Stockton Globe on November 22, 1963

The setback has not deterred the Globe’s operators, The Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG), who have already started the process of approaching acts to play at the live music and comedy venue.

Last month the Globe’s restoration consultant, Dr David Wilmore, said unexpected discoveries – and the technical challenges they pose – are a common feature when restoring historic buildings.

Sneak preview of restoration work

“Restoring old buildings is far more complicated than building new ones because you just don’t know what you’re going to come up against,” said Dr Wilmore.