Row over Doncaster council’s £10k canvas spend

The printed canvas currently covering the Mansion House as restoration work is ongoing, which has cost the council just under �11,000
The printed canvas currently covering the Mansion House as restoration work is ongoing, which has cost the council just under �11,000

Tax-payers have voiced their anger after it was revealed that Doncaster Council have spent more than £10,000 on a printed canvas to cover one of the town’s most iconic buildings.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showed that a hefty £10,935 has been spent on fitting the frontage of the Mansion House with a canvas illustrated with a printed design of the building.

The Mansion House is undergoing a £300,000 facelift with the aim of restoring its position as the focus of the High Street and encouraging people through its doors.

The council has defended the amount forked out – saying it was a measure which needed to be taken in order to ‘minimise’ the impact on bookings at the venue, and to protect the public from falling debris.

Doncaster resident Bob Wright, aged 63, of Exeter Road, Wheatley, has described the spend as ‘absolutely disgusting.’

He said: “They have spent thousands more than it’s worth on a canvas that barely covers a third of the building.

“A normal canvas would have stopped debris from falling, and as for saying that they didn’t want to stop people from booking to have their wedding there, St George’s Church has been covered in scaffolding for years, and that’s never stopped anyone from using it. I would rather see my taxes going towards schools, hospitals or anything worthwhile really, this has been a complete waste of money.”

Council spokesman Dave Wilkinson said: “In addition to the obvious safety concerns of any falling debris that the canvas protects against while the cleaning and preparation works take place, we have kept in mind that the Mansion House is one of the most iconic buildings in Doncaster and is regularly used as a wedding venue for local couples.

“We decided that it was appropriate to make the external visage of the building look presentable while essential work took place, as the Mansion House is still a working tourist attraction and exposed scaffolding looks unattractive to guests.

“In addition to a wedding which was already booked in during this time, we also felt it was important that the High Street looked its best during for events such as the St Leger Festival week, when over a hundred thousand people visited Doncaster.”

Doncaster’s Mansion House has dominated the High Street for more than 250 years. It is only one of four surviving civic Mansion Houses in the country and was designed as a place for corporate entertaining.