The portacabins have landed

Regular visitors might have noticed some visible signs of progress with our project to create a new Heritage & Arts Centre. We handed the old library building over to contractors at the end of April and the next phase of works is getting underway. This an intensive series of surveys that will inform all the later building work.

The top end of Southgate Street is currently closed off to accommodate the workers from Gilbert Ash along with other specialist contractors. In the coming weeks a more substantial compound will be created with hoardings around it.

One of the first surveys was of the internal drainage and external gullies. And at the same time the ‘soft strip’ has begun. This intriguingly named procedure is the process to remove all of the features that are no longer required in the building – from light fittings to electrical wiring, pipework to old carpet tiles and much more besides. One huge skip has already been filled as the project looks to strip away these more recent fixtures and get back to the original features that will be preserved in the Heritage Centre. It is fascinating to think what secrets will be revealed in the coming weeks and months…

The Heritage & Arts Centre project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Stoller Charitable Trust. Full details of the plans and our original announcement are here.