Published and promoted by Mike Booth, on behalf of Kew Ward Liberal Democrats, at 35 Shakespeare Street, Southport PR8 5AB. Hosted by Blogspot, who do not know or endorse the contents of this posting.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Cultural Centre Update

I was lucky enough to be taken on a tour of the Cultural Centre this week to see how the scheme is progressing. I was given the tour along with Sefton's officers and my colleague Councillor Tony Robertson. Tony joined me in his role as the cabinet member given the task of overseeing this project.

We were given a presentation to highlight the progress made and then we donned our protective wellingtons, glasses and hard hats before entering the site.

I last visited the site a few months ago and the progress made since is quite dramatic. Many of the floors have been removed and new openings made in many of the walls. For example, the above photo shows what is left of the area that used to house the wine bar between the Arts Centre and the Art Gallery. Unfortunately I couldn't get a suitable photo of the main theatre as it is now full of scaffolding.

Work began in June and it is planned to be completed by May 2012.

Apart from the obvious demolition work a great deal of steelwork has been completed, new drainage installed and asbestos removed.

Contractors will soon begin restoration of the buildings ornate facade and a new roof will be added. Some of the stonework being removed from a demolished stairway is being used as restoration material as it matches the exterior stonework. Having walked on the roof I can vouch for the poor state of the present structure.

Bovis Lend Lease, as the main contractors, have been very keen to ensure that local sub-contractors are used whenever possible. Out of a total workforce of just under 60, the Sefton area accounts for 19%, Merseyside 48% and the rest of the North West 32%. The remaining 1% of the workers are from elsewhere in the UK. Most workers are based locally and local hotels are used when overnight stays are needed.

The work so far is impressive and some old, long forgotten parts of the buildings have been uncovered, particularly in the library, which started life as a bank.

There is a long way to go before the buildings are open to the public again but I hope that when we get there we will have a Centre of regional significance. My thanks to all involved, in what has become a hugely complex project, for all their hard work to date.

I look forward to my next update and visit in the New Year.

Pictured below is an example of one of the many new breaks made in walls that will eventually form new and improved ways of moving from one part of the complex to another.

Finally a shot of Tony on the roof using his mobile phone to take his own photos.

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