Work to begin at Ludlow Assembly Rooms in August
Behind the scenes work is ongoing to ensure a major programme of refurbishment at Ludlow Assembly Rooms can begin in August.
Architects and specialist advisers have been preparing the necessary drawings, specifications, method statements, tender packages and works programmes since Shropshire Council signed over an asset transfer to Ludlow and District Community Association Limited (LAR) in March.
A 50-year lease agreed in 1992 saw LAR take on 74 per cent of the venue, but the new 125-year lease covers 100 per cent.
Detailed cost estimates have also now been completed by the appointed quantity surveyors for the project and these have confirmed that the projects can be delivered within the combined ERDF, ACE and Shropshire Council agreed budgets.
In a report set to go before Shropshire Council's cabinet next week, three contract packages have been proposed.
General building work/enabling work details at £243,668, specialist mechanical and electrical systems at £734,210 and specialist fit out of the ground floor café/entrance at £280,000.
There will also be the consultancy and professional fees, totalling £240,456, contingency, £83,938, and marketing, £35,850.
In the report it says: "There has been the desire to transfer the Ludlow Assembly Rooms to LAR for many years.
"Two issues have previously prevented the transfer to date, namely modernising/putting the building into a good state of repair and secondly the lack of capital funding to redevelop the ground floor section of the building which fronts onto Castle Square to include a new box office and café/restaurant.
"The coming together of various funding streams and projects have provided the opportunity to significantly improve the building prior to the transfer of the asset to LAR in accordance with the Community Asset Transfer process. LAR can then develop a range of arts, community and commercial activities which can sustain and make the building viable and sustainable for the future.
"The continuation of the use of the building and its availability for local groups will mean its accessibility continues into the future for the whole community."
The ERDF grant funded project of £1.34 million has been awarded to the council for the modernisation of the mechanical and electrical equipment within the building, with work due for completion by June 2019.
This is made up of more than £803,000 of ERDF Approved Funding, with £50,000 match funding from LAR and £485,802 from Shropshire Council.
Shropshire Council will also contribute up to £250,000 towards necessary structural repairs to the roof and fabric of the building.
Arts Council England has offered £350,000 towards a £615,000 redesign of the ground floor, to create a new box office and café.
The difference will be made up by £100,000 from LAR reserves, £135,000 from fundraising and a £30,000 donation.
Shropshire Council's cabinet is set to formally approve the project for inclusion in its capital programme on Wednesday.