Octagon faces more delays as contractors lay floor for fourth time

The Pavilion Gardens Promenade, with the Octagon hall in the background.
The Pavilion Gardens Promenade, with the Octagon hall in the background.

The opening of Buxton’s iconic Octagon has been pushed back yet again with council bosses hoping to have it open later this month.

The reason for the delay to the Grade II-listed building, say High Peak Borough Council which has invested £3m on repair works, is because sub contractors are re-laying the screed under the floor for the forth time.

Coun Tony Kemp, executive councillor for tourism and regeneration for the council said: “Laying the screed has failed for a fourth time and it has pushed everything back.

“Never did I think we would be in a position where the floor had to be laid more than once and certainly not four times. Disappointed is an understatement and a feeling that is felt across the council.”
Due to the exceptionally hot weather when the floor was meant to be laid in July it did not set properly so it was done again.

Since then it has been inspected and not met the required standards for the council.

Coun Kemp said: “We are a business and everyday we are not open, not holding events in the space we are losing revenue.

“However, the contractors will be fined for every week the project over runs which will be deducted off what we would be paying them at the end and as it was due to be open on March 6 they will have to face the consequences of not delivering work to the right standard the first time round.”

In the spring the heavy snowfall also pushed the completion date back several months - it was originally meant to open again in March but this was pushed back to May and then July.

The Octagon shut its doors to the public in October 2015 and the repairs started in 2017 after exploratory and investigation works showed the roof on the 1870s building was dangerously unsafe.

Since then a new steel beam has been installed to support the historic columns and most recently all re-glazing for the damaged windows has been started.

Coun Kemp said: “The work is taking longer than we thought but no one is as frustrated with these delays as we are.

“We have been given an estimated competition date of mid September but the contractors may be off site by then but I don’t think we will be moving in straight away there still seems too much to do.

“One of the problems we have faced is this is not a shop to be refitting it is a heritage building which requires specialist attention.”

Tony Ashton, leader of High Peak Borough Council, said: “While it is disappointing to not be open I’d rather wait to make sure everything was right than open and have to close three months down the line while we fix problems because it wasn’t perfect the first time round.”

“We are now creating a building which will still be here for future generations to enjoy and will remain part of Buxton’s iconic landscape.”