Buxton’s iconic Octagon hall will finally reopen its doors to the public this Friday (September 28).
It is almost three years since the Grade II-listed building was shut, but now the Octagon in Buxton’s Pavilion Garden’s is ready to welcome visitors once again.
High Peak Borough Council’s executive councillor for tourism, regeneration and licensing, Tony Kemp, who has led the project through its £3m restoration, said: “I am really, really pleased to be finally saying that the Octagon is going to reopen after all this time.
“We are only having a soft launch. The inside has been handed back to us by the contractors, but there are still a few jobs to do. People will still be seeing workmen around but now the main compound has gone they will be much less obtrusive.”
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 of the building, which dates back to the 1870s, was dangerously unsafe.
Since then a new steel beam has been installed to support the historic columns.
Heavy snowfall in the spring pushed the completion date back several months - it was originally scheduled to reopen in March.
More recently, the project has had to overcome delays caused by sub-contractors having to re-lay the screed under the floor for a fourth time.
Coun Kemp said: “The work has taken longer than we thought, but no-one has been as frustrated by these delays as us.
“This is why it is a great relief to say we are ready to welcome our first event - it has been a long time coming.
“There are always so many worries with a big project; when we did Buxton’s swimming pool that became an absolute nightmare. We had to find a new contractor to finish the job after the first went into administration, which was really difficult, and you dread something like that happening again - but thankfully it hasn’t
“And with a project where so much of the restoration work is outside we have been at the mercy of the weather which hasn’t helped, but I’m really relieved we haven’t ended up working into winter.”
M Markovitz Ltd will be holding its Home Improvement Show at the newly-renovated venue on Friday September 28, 10am to 6pm, and Saturday September 29, 10am to 4pm. This will be followed on September 30 by a Sunday Bazaar, between 10am and 4pm, featuring an eclectic selection of stalls.
Jennifer McBain, Markovitz’s marketing and events director, said: “It is awesome to know we are going to be the first people to use the venue, it is very exciting for us.
“It has been very tense at times hearing about all the delays with bad weather and things not being done right, but I have remained optimistic and when they rang to confirm that it would be ready for us there were some very big smiles in the office.
“We are really delighted to be the first exhibitors to use the space now it has reopened. I know other events haven’t been as lucky and have had to be cancelled all together, which must have been really stressful for them.
“Knowing there have been delays and problems I have been having regular site visits and in the last few weeks there has been a real flurry of activity. It has gone from somewhere which looked like a building site to an awesome space.
“Everything looks so great, the walls, the light fittings, the newly-painted stage, it has come together and we can’t wait to get in there for our show now.”
For more show details, visit www.markovitzhomeshow.co.uk.