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Works to renovate historic Victorian Market House in Great Torrington to commence

A 14 week programme of works is due to commence at Great Torrington Market House and pannier market which will include significant restoration of both the facade and interior. The works have been made possible thanks to a £200k grant, procured by council officers, from the Governments Rural Prosperity Fund. Recent condition reports have prompted English Heritage to place the Grade II* listed structure, originally built in 1842, on their “at risk register.” The last major refurbishment was at the end of the second millennium in 2000 although further redecoration projects were also undertaken in 2010.

The programme will include the reintroduction of the iconic Bellcote structure to its rightful place on the roof area at the front of the building. The Bellcote was found to be in a very poor and unsafe condition during a thorough structural inspection in 2021 and was removed to undergo conservation and repair. Additional tasks will include the redecoration of most of the building with repairs to the render, windows, parapet, and roof in an extensive schedule of works.

A work compound in a section of Barley Grove Car Park will be set up from 31st July and will be followed by the erection of scaffolding from Sunday 6th August. The scaffolding will cover the front façade with the installation scheduled over the weekend when the market is closed to minimise disruption to market traders and customers. The project is expected to be completed by early November and will be undertaken by Devon based chartered building company Arque Ltd. Officers from Torridge have planned ongoing dialogue with builders and traders to ensure that tasks are scheduled in a manner that will allow retail and business activity to continue with as little disturbance as possible during the works.

Councillor Cheryl Cottle-Hunkin Lead Member for Culture and Community Engagement said:

“The Market House is an iconic structure in Great Torrington so it’s great that these works will see it restored to its former glory. The Council acted quickly when the extensive decay in the Bellcote was detected and made the building safe while a thorough survey was undertaken. It will be lovely to see the unveiling of the finished works, which I know will be very welcomed by both commercial business users and visitors to the hall.”

Dave Gibbons – Chair of Trustees at Torrington Museum added:

“We’re delighted to hear that our iconic Market House is finally getting the attention it needs and would like to thank Torridge District Council for their hard work in making it happen. The museum team have started planning a major overhaul of the interior and look forward to unveiling an exciting new display space for future generations of locals and visitors alike.”