On the eve of the re-opening of Buxton’s Pavilion Gardens following a winter break, council chiefs have announced a start date for the long-awaited work on the Octagon.
Contractors will begin the major remedial works on Monday, February 20 more than a year after the hall shut its doors to the public.
The Octagon, which is a Grade II heritage listed building, needs extensive repairs to the roof and dome as much of the building was built in the 1870s.
Councillor Tony Kemp, deputy leader of the council and executive councillor for tourism and regeneration, said: “I have been advised that we have an agreed start date for the contractors who will undertake the major repair work on the Octagon – it is February 20 2017.”
The Octagon, in Pavilion Gardens, was shut in October 2015 with works expected to take 15 months.
Cllr Kemp said: “I announced last year that the scope of the major remedial work had been expanded after further surveys identified additional urgent works to the Octagon including the replacement of the floor and the supporting sub-structure and upgrades to the mechanical and electrical plant. “However, it does mean that a lot of work will be completed in one go, reducing the need for further service disruptions in future.”
Now as work on the project gets underway plans have been submitted to allow the temporary marquee, where functions now take place, to stay on the promenade for a further three months until the end of March 2018.
Cllr Kemp said: “We will be retaining the marquee until the repairs and improvement work is finished to ensure the Gardens continues to make a significant contribution to supporting economic development and regeneration.”
High Peak Borough Council confirmed the budget for the repair work is £919,000 and would be part of the £3 million for major remedial work to those buildings not renovated between 2008 and 2010.
However, the enforced closure of the Octagon has impacted heavily on the income from events and passing trade. Together with the cost of hiring the marquee, the cost to the taxpayer of operating the Gardens has risen very considerably.
As a result the council chose to close the Pavilion Garden buildings which included the cafe, tourist information and the toilets from Christmas Eve and they will open tomorrow, February 1 and will be open daily between 11am and 4pm.
Cllr Kemp added: “We used the break to undertake general repair and maintenance work – such as flooring – that is difficult to do when services are in full operation.
“A full analysis of the closure period will take some time to complete but there are some things we have already noted – one of which is that we need to make sure that some public toilet facilities remain accessible.