The Priory House refurbishment project has been made possible with The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to continue the restoration project.
The Priory House Restoration Project undertaken as part of the Dunstable High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ), has uncovered several unforeseen issues since work commenced on site in September 2022. We are now delighted to announce that Dunstable Town Council have secured £1,142,730 of funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) to allow the Priory House project to continue, with a completion date now being summer 2024. The great news is that by the end of the project, the whole building will reopen for public use, rather than part of the building remaining closed indefinitely.
Why could the issues not have been identified before the site work commenced?
Planning for the building work started in August 2020 and a lot of specialists inputted into investigations and planning between then and September 2022. Despite all the detailed preparatory work there was no way of foreseeing some of the issues that could only have been identified once the project team started taking the inside apart to carry out the necessary repairs and refurbishment.
A lot of the unforeseen issues relate to the numerous changes that have been made to the building over the years. The building has been vastly altered, extended, and renovated to allow for different uses. These changes and earlier repair works have resulted in hidden defects that have only just been found. This meant that the scope of the project grew considerably from the original plans, and with that so did the costs.
Dunstable Town Council submitted a grant application to the NLHF in August 2023 and found out in September that the bid for £1,142,730 had been successful. This is fantastic news as it will allow the work to Priory House to be completed. This will include the originally planned refurbishment to the Undercroft (vaulted room) and façade, along with previously unplanned works to the second floor to improve the structural integrity of the building so it can be fully reopened in summer 2024.
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