Already the iconic Worden Hall has seen a raft of changes as part of the refurbishment, which includes the removal of the central conservatory to make way for a beautiful entrance area and courtyard.
Damaged windows have been replaced and a re-configuration of downstairs rooms has taken place to allow for two new kitchen areas; one which will serve the Folly Cafe and Deli in its new location as part of the Hall and one to serve the new multi-use event space in the iconic Marsden Room.
The Marsden Room - which will be available for small weddings and other events when open - now has new roof windows and lighting, and next steps will see the Courtyard Hall take shape as a new timber structure will link up the Derby Wing, Marsden Room, Folly Café and retail space. In parallel, the construction of the two-storey extension will progress to provide full accessibility to the first-floor facilities.
The old stables are being transformed into a high-quality retail space for use by a local independent art and craft trader, and upstairs the many rooms are being transformed into multi-use spaces available for office and educational use. The building’s roof is also being repaired and re-slated with original slate tiles.
Coun Matthew Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Finance, Property, and Assets, said: “It’s wonderful to see work progress on site. I visited the development recently and was lucky enough to access the roof where I could see first-hand the dedicated work taking place by the team to ensure that the design and build process is in fitting with the iconic Hall’s heritage. Not only in use of traditional materials, but the team are also using traditional build methods as part of this development to not lose the historic heart of the building - and it’s a joy to see.
“We said right from the start that we wanted this building to be brought back to life after over seven years of neglect and disrepair and we are doing just that. Our £2.8m investment will now mean even more generations of our community can enjoy the jewel in Worden Park’s crown.”
The development of the Hall includes a building extension which will house a lift and sanitary accommodation providing inclusive facilities for all. The extension is designed to be simple in terms of aesthetics with a timeless design, and will allow the existing historical building to be clearly distinguished and enjoyed in its own right. Natural materials have been selected for the new build which will naturally weather and mellow, settling into the surrounding park landscape.
The design has been developed to celebrate and enhance key architectural features of the existing building - including the clock tower - by pushing the new façade line back from its existing positions, and the courtyard hall being opened back up to its original full width and footprint.
Coun Tomlinson added: “We’re on time and on budget to deliver this project and I am incredibly excited to see the Hall back in use by all in the community. The Hall will boast high-quality event, retail and meeting spaces with fresh interior design while maintaining its rich cultural heritage and I cannot wait for you all to see it.
“Very soon we’ll be letting people know about the Worden Hall use offer and we’ll be able to start to take expressions of interest in bookings - so watch this space!”