A £260,000 refurbishment of Thame Town Hall, which started out as a six week project to replace the windows, has finished after more than a year.
The renovation, which began in 2014 and was completed in spring this year, included repairs to the brickwork, a new roof and the replacement of doors and windows. It is hoped that the refurbishment will encourage greater use of the hall by residents.
Nichola Dixon, mayor of Thame, said: “It’s gone really well. You do notice how much brighter and cleaner it looks.”
“It all started out of practicality. We noticed more and more that water was coming through the windows, so initially it was just about replacing those.”
However, as the building work progressed, issues were flagged up surrounding the brickwork and the state of the roof.
“It went from a small process – originally we thought it would take six weeks – and it turned into a massive project.”
The town hall, which has been filmed for Midsomer Murders and other television shows, is a grade II listed building, which had to be taken into account during the planning and building stages.
“It is more difficult – we couldn’t get just anyone in and the materials we used had to be appropriate for the age and style of the building.”
The town hall has been the subject of a number of April Fool’s pranks - including an announcement of plans for a helipad to built on its roof – so when scaffolding went up it attracted a lot of curiosity. Nichola described the hall as ‘a good focal point’ for the town.
“A lot of council are moving away from old buildings and into office blocks, but for us it works really well.”
The town hall is available for hire, and is currently used for exercise classes as well as being the site for drop-in sessions with the council. There are even plans to obtain a marriage license for the building, with the hope that the hall’s sweeping staircase and central location will be attractive to prospective couples.
Nichola said: “We’re very happy with the work. We see it as an investment - the more people we get through the door the better.”