Offer to Councillors to buy their seats- literally

The red leather chairs in the former Derry City Council Chamber, which is now the Plantation Museum on the ground floor of the Guildhall.

The red leather chairs in the former Derry City Council Chamber, which is now the Plantation Museum on the ground floor of the Guildhall.

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Former Derry City Councillors have been offered the chance to literally buy their seats as part of a sell-off by the new Derry-Strabane Council.

The council is planning to go auction if their are no takers from councillors or staff for the large red leather Eames Style Chairs, which were used in the former Derry City Council chamber on the ground floor of the Guildhall.

There were no immediate takers when the matter of the 23 remaining chairs was raised at this week’s monthly meeting of the Derry City & Strabane District Council’s Business and Culture Committee in the new upstairs chamber at the Guildhall.

Some of the old council chairs, the committee members were told, are a bit worse for wear.

During the meeting, the chairs were offered to councillors are a price of between £40 and £100.

The Council however has now backed a recommendation that they are sold off.

The chairs that are going up for sale.

The chairs that are going up for sale.

Linda Williams, the new council’s head of economic development and marketing, told the committee: “We have 23 red leather ‘Eames Style’ chairs from the old Council Chamber in the Guildhall from before the refurbishment, and they are currently stored in the Harbour House.

“15 are in fair to reasonable condition, while the other 8 have noticeable tears and heavy wear, with some of the mechanisms broken.

“There is a storage issue with these chairs as they are very bulky, heavy and they are not stackable. You require two members of staff to move them.

“The chairs are cumbersome for both the staff and users of the chairs.”

Councillors were told that the cost of upholstering the chairs in leather would be £7,210 and the cost to upholster them in leatherette would be £5,340.

Ms Williams said that a report instead concluded that a better option involved putting the chairs up for sale to staff and councillors, with the remaining chairs be sold auction via Auctions NI.

The council is also currently refurbishing 16 other old leather chairs that have been deemed more user friendly.

Responding to questions over whether the chairs have been valued, Ms Williams said the chairs were deemed to have not been of significant historical interest, while valuation was quite low.