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Rot at Town Hall ups repair costs

PUBLISHED: 16:36 31 July 2008 | UPDATED: 11:29 03 July 2010

RENOVATION SURPRISE: Rot discovered at Yarmouth's Town Hall is going to push up repair costs

RENOVATION SURPRISE: Rot discovered at Yarmouth's Town Hall is going to push up repair costs

Laura Bagshaw

REPAIR work to Great Yarmouth's historic Town Hall should be finished by winter, despite contractors uncovering yet more surprise problems.

Costs spiralled to more than £2m earlier this year after workers discovered parts of the roof had deteriorated more than first thought.

REPAIR work to Great Yarmouth's historic Town Hall should be finished by winter, despite contractors uncovering yet more surprise problems.

Costs spiralled to more than £2m earlier this year after workers discovered parts of the roof had deteriorated more than first thought.

And the final section of the roof to be examined has unearthed serious rot problems - increasing repair costs again.

David Frowde, head of the borough council's architectural services, said he hoped the council had come across its last bit of bad news adding the project had kept surprises right until the end. He said: “We have found some quite serious rot in the trusses above the Assembly Room and structural engineers have been working to come up with solutions for us.”

Additional works on the west side will increase the costs. “There are no two ways about it but we are still unsure how much this will cost,” said Mr Frowde.

He said despite the rot being quite serious it was not spotted by contractors immediately.

“It is not until you carry out major work like this that you discover the true extent of the damage. Even when workers started examining that side of the building they did not see it straight away.”

It was only when contractors looked beyond the roof that the damage was spotted. The roof cannot be repaired until the rotten trusses have been replaced. Mr Frowde saidthat water has been getting into the trusses causing the brickwork to become “saturated”.

However, Mr Frowde believes the west section of the roof has been in a poor condition for at least 90 years.

He explained that the Town Hall was originally built on land reclaimed from the river which caused the building to move about five years after it was completed.

The west part of the building was the section that moved and while workers at the time managed to save the building by pinning it we believe the damage could have set in from this

point because it was not water tight. And the ceiling of the Assembly Room is showing signs of water damage.

“There are signs of water ingress, if you look at the right hand corner there is staining on the decoration but beyond that there is little damage. We have caught it in good time.”

Large areas of the roof have already been replaced and 60pc of the tiles have been reused. A number of ornamental gables, parapets and chimneys have either been rebuilt of strengthened and stonework has been restored.

The roof has also had layers of insulation added in a bid to make the building more energy efficient. It is the first time in the building's history that the roof has been replaced.

The council is also repairing the movement and dials of the Town Hall clock and an electric wind facility will be fitted, ending the three times a week manual winding.

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