THE go-ahead for £1.3m work to fix the Covered Market’s leaky roof is set to be approved next week.

The city council had pledged to spend money on improving the Grade II listed building when it passed its budget in February.

Council papers show a large chunk of that will go on paying experts to repair the roof to last up to 80 years. It is currently in a ‘poor state of repair and vulnerable to leaks and occasional flooding during heavy rainfall’.

Sandie Griffith, of the Covered Market Traders’ Association, said: “It’s an investment that they haven’t got an awful lot of choice about. It’s good that the council is going to do something about it.”

She added: “I think it was through underinvestment years ago. In the last few years, the council has been more proactive than it was, say, 10 years ago.”

It emerged the city council had asked three contractors to come up with a quote for the roof work – and is set to choose the most expensive.

The likely contractor, Staffordshire-based Croft Building and Conservation, has already carried out three of the seven stages of required work for the council at the Covered Market.

According to its website, Croft Building and Conservation has completed maintenance on Grade I listed buildings Lichfield Cathedral and Powis Castle.

But a council report notes every stage of work it has completed in the last five years on the roof has run over initial budgets.

In 2012, it was told it would be able to complete work for £112,600; ‘hidden problems’ meant costs jumped to £185,000.

Then, in 2015, other maintenance cost £120,000, £13,000 more than hoped. Last year, other work was set to cost £153,870 and eventually totalled about £180,000.

The £1.3m will pay for the next stage of roof refurbishment and forms part of a £3.1m spend on long term improvements.

The council’s executive board will be asked to sign off the £1.3m at a meeting next Tuesday.

Next week's decision will follow the loss of a key trader in Macsamillion, the shoe shop, after it shut down suddenly last month. Hedges Butchers, will also move out soon, blaming retail trends. But new menswear store Leonard Jay opened yesterday.

Board member for culture and city centre Mary Clarkson said: "The council is the custodian of the almost 250-year-old market. We take that responsibility seriously and we are investing to refurbish the internal space and ensure the roof will last for generations."

Another £1.3m will pay for internal improvements, but that will be decided later.