£3m restoration of Buxton's historic Octagon hall further delayed

The Octagon hall at the Pavilion Gardens in Buxton.
The Octagon hall at the Pavilion Gardens in Buxton.

The completion of repairs to Buxton's iconic Octagon have been further delayed.

High Peak Borough Council said the effects of the recent snowfall and protracted cold weather had put back the completion of the £3m project to upgrade and repair the historic Pavilion Gardens hall.

A spokesperson for High Peak Borough Council confirmed this week: "The extreme cold weather during February and March has created very difficult and unsafe working conditions, impacting on the supply chain and, at times, even preventing contractors getting on site.

"The sustained sub-zero temperatures, even inside the building, also caused problems with finishing materials. A domino effect from delays to certain key tasks has then held up subsequent stages necessitating the re-booking for sub-contractors, procurement and project resources.

"The council has therefore been advised of a revised completion date at the end of May meaning that all planned in-house events in the Octagon hall in May will now take place on the promenade.

"Given the complexity of some remaining work, the council has also taken the difficult decision to warn customers that in-house events in June may also take place on the promenade – but, provided the Octagon is completed to the current revised schedule, these events will take place as planned in the Octagon hall."

The council-owned building closed in October 2015 for vital repair work to the roof of the dome, to be replaced by a temporary marquee on the Pavilion Gardens promenade.

It was initially planned that the work would take around 15 months, however further surveys identified additional urgent works including the replacement of the floor and the supporting sub-structure, along with upgrades to the mechanical and electrical plant.

The completion date has since been revised a number of times, more recently it had been scheduled for the end of April.

Councillor Tony Kemp, Executive Councillor for Tourism and Regeneration, said: “I am less than happy at being advised of a significant further delay so late in the contract programme but recent conditions have been challenging and I would not wish the final work to be rushed – after all, the council will hopefully not be undertaking this scale of work on the Octagon for a very long time so we need to be sure everything is right.

“We will continue to press the main contractor to try and recover lost time but our experience of managing complex heritage projects like this, and the unpredictability of the local climate, means that we do need to be cautious about fully committing to opening the facility for June.

"We wish to be completely transparent with our clients and customers so we are warning any booked in June that we still cannot be absolutely certain when we will have the building handed back to us.

“We are in close discussions with our private clients and traders regarding booked events in June to try and mitigate possible inconvenience caused by the delay and they will continue to be updated by the team at Pavilion Gardens.

“Everyone’s patience is appreciated and I am grateful to the public for bearing with us. We are, of course, very excited to be nearing completion and hope to have this magnificent venue open to the public as soon as possible.”