VISITORS to a council headquarters and adjoining law courts could face three months of disruption as £186,000 of essential repairs are carried out.
From Monday, Hartlepool Borough Council staff will be making major improvements to the front entrance, concourse, steps and access ramp of the Civic Centre and Hartlepool Law Courts in Victoria Road.
Council chiefs say the scheme is necessary because the existing tiled surface, which dates from the construction of the building 40 years ago, has come to the end of its life and is increasingly prone to breaking loose, particularly in icy weather.
They add that maintenance costs are rising and there are increased risks of tripping and slipping for those going in and out of the building.
Essential structural work linked to the underground car park below will also be required.
Dave Stubbs, the council’s director of regeneration and neighbourhoods, said: “These extensive repairs and improvements will extend the life of the concourse and ensure that people can continue to go in and out of the Civic Centre and Law Courts easily and safely, with enhanced access for people who use wheelchairs or pushchairs.
“Pedestrian access to the Civic Centre and Law Courts front entrances will be maintained while the work is being carried out.
“However, the existing ramp will unfortunately not be useable from next week until about mid-March.
“We would therefore ask wheelchair or pushchair users intending to visit Civic Centre or the Law Courts while the work is underway to please contact us in advance so that other access can be organised or other arrangements can be made for them.”
The work includes replacing tiles with more durable anti-slip surfacing, adding ridging and coloured edging to steps to help the partially-sighted, installation of handrails, removing the brick planter near the current access ramp and the creation of an additional ramp to the left of the steps.
Anyone with access queries while the work is being carried out can call the council on (01429) 523330 or the courts on (01429) 230600 and press option 1 for the county court or option 3 for the magistrates’ court.