Topsham's Matthews Hall progress

PUBLISHED: 16:44 20 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:41 10 June 2010

THE chairman of the Matthews Hall management committee is pleased with the progress made to refurbish the popular Fore Street building. Ahead of its planned completion date next month, construction firms are busy modernising the hall to make it better sui

THE chairman of the Matthews Hall management committee is pleased with the progress made to refurbish the popular Fore Street building.

Ahead of its planned completion date next month, construction firms are busy modernising the hall to make it better suited as a place to be used for entertainment and community activities.

Chairman Steve Preston said he was happy with the ongoing redevelopment work.

"Everything is looking good so far. There are lots of clubs and societies that use the hall, who I hope will get a whole lot more enjoyment out of using it," he explained.

"It is a community hall for the benefit of Topsham. It's also a venue - a place for concerts, parties and shows. We hope to get a lot more people here to use the facilities."

The work has included changes to the ground floor area which will house a new café with access to refurbished male, female and disabled toilets, a new kitchen and bar.

The police office has been relocated to behind the stage and a chair lift will be installed providing better access to the first floor council chamber with a fire protected lobby and chair park.

And, the roof space above the hall and chamber will be insulated as well as a ramp being built for wheelchair access to the building's main entrance.

Steve, speaking about the work currently being undertaken, said: "We are trying to do phase three at the same time as the second part.

"This encompasses the upgrade of the equipment, acoustic panels and all the redecoration. "There will, however, be further work needed on the third part after September such as the floors.

"The logistics of doing all things at once is impossible. The floors, for instance, will possibly be left until Christmas time.

"There is a two week gap when the hall closes which will be a perfect time for this to be carried out."

The building is leased to the Topsham Community Association as part of a 28-year agreement.

Matthews Hall's management committee has financed the refurbishment work having launched a fundraising campaign in May last year.

More than £200,000 has been raised for the project which had an initial estimate of £350,000 for the changes.

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