Since the Granary and Bakery is a Grade II* Listed Building, the proposed repairs to the main staircase in the Bakery North core requires Listed Building consent from the local Planning Authority (GBC). Residents in Granary and Bakery and adjacent blocks have received a notification of the application (ref 21/00430/LBA) and are invited to comment, approve or object to the proposals by the deadline of 12 September.
The deterioration of underside of the lower flight of this staircase has been a concern for several years. There were two surveyors reports in 2015 but no further action was taken. The report submitted with this application makes reference to the conclusions to the 2015 surveys. It appears the surveyors have concluded that probable cause of the problem may be the migration of damp and hydroscopic salts from an adjacent former brick oven in the Bakery (now sealed), one of those used to bake bread and ship's biscuits for the Navy when this was an active Victualling Yard. Several of the vast former ovens are still open and visible inside the Baker's Bar & Kitchen.
There are three cantilevered stone staircases in the Granry and Bakery, two in the Bakery North core, one in the Bakery South. The other two staircases are in good condition and are not showing the same signs of deterioration. That may be due to the fact that they are not sharing a wall with one of the former ovens.
The "Inspection Report" submitted with the application documents explains the detail of the problem with the deterioration of the lower flight of the cantilevered stone staircase:
"Adjacent to the wall the treads show signs of significant spalling and lamination to the underside of the stair across approximately 700mm width , on the top 2 treads there is some loose material which can be removed by hand.
"...we understand that the cause of the deterioration of the stairs and landing is due to hygroscopic salts which are present in the brickwork."
The proposal which has been submitted to GBC and which is out for consultation, is to support the lower flight of the stairs with a metal frame (to be painted white). The detailed plans can be viewed with the other documents on the Planning portal.
We understand that RMG is proposing to do the repair works alongside the cyclical internal redecoration works, as they have advised with the Section 20 "Notice of Intention" letters sent to leaseholders on 15 July.