The Town Hall restoration project aims to both preserve the Town Hall for future generations and create a financially self-sustaining asset for the whole community of Great Torrington and District and the north Devon region.
Without compromising the architectural and historic integrity of the building, it will be adapted to allow complete modernisation and the installation of a lift and full facilities for the disabled. A new area will be created for use as rental or exhibition space by tastefully glazing and enclosing the large part of the undercroft not required for the public right of way through The Shambles. This will provide a prominent entrance and enhance the appearance of the building. The current ‘garage’ at the rear of the building will continue to be used for storage.
Crucially, the main assembly room/gallery previously housing the town’s Heritage Museum will, once again, be made available for community, social, civic, cultural and, occasionally, commercial purposes. Associated bar and kitchen facilities suitable for outside caterers will be provided to support all manner of functions including wedding receptions. In addition new equipment and furnishings will be acquired to support the newly restored ‘proper’ function of the Town Hall.
To support the assembly rooms it will be necessary to provide a substantial block of toilets. This will be achieved by removing the present asbestos-clad toilets and replacing them with new build at the rear of the building alongside the Council Chamber. Further development in this area is unfortunately severely hampered by the presence of an electricity sub-station for which SWEB has a lease for another 50years!
The beautiful oak panelled Council Chamber will continue to be used for Town Council and other important meetings, as at present. It is also eminently suitable for civil marriage ceremonies and board meetings for local businesses.
It is intended to run the refurbished Town Hall in close liaison with both the Plough and Beaford Arts Centres to our mutual benefit.
Charges for all the facilities will have to be realistic but, as this is essentially a community project, worthwhile concessions will be made to local organisations and groups using the premises.
The end result will be a facility long wanted in Torrington and District but impossible for many decades.
Architect's walkthrough video - click to play