The final stages of an 11-year project to refurbish Banbury Town Hall have got under way as part of a total £1 million restoration plan.
Since 2002 work has been ongoing at the hall to restore and maintain the site as part of Banbury Town Council’s long-running preservation programme for the Grade II Listed building.
Last week the final phase of the 11-year project got under way, with builders from Art Contracts Ltd in Banbury moving in to carry out work expected to be completed by summer.
The latest phase of work will cost in the region of £500,000, bringing the total spend on refurbishment work over the past 11 years up to about £1 million.
Among the latest changes will be the creation of a catering kitchen, providing additional space for hire, and improvements to the lift, which follows earlier improvements to facilities such as the main hall, toilets and disabled access.
Banbury Town Mayor Tony Ilott said: “Banbury Town Hall is a listed building.
“The council has a duty to maintain the building in a safe and proper condition. Parts of the building are in a poor condition and we have taken expert advice on what needs to be done. The work will make the town hall a more attractive place to hire for private parties and business functions. The improvements will increase revenue to the council from letting fees.”
The town council took ownership of the building in 2000 and since 2002 has been undertaking the work in phases.
Council leader Cllr Kieron Mallon said by spending money to preserve the building now, it would prevent larger repair bills in the future and make the building more attractive to hire.
He said: “All of this has been fully costed, fully budgeted for and delivered without having to raise council tax.”