On Monday afternoon, our Publicity Director, Bryon Fear and General Stage Manager, Chaz Doyle caught up with our builders Ash Contracting Ltd. at the Old Fire Station in West Norwood to get an update on the building works. Like these visits in the past, it was evident that a lot of exciting progress has been made at the site but there have also been some discoveries that have slowed down the works a little which now unfortunately means a later finish date.
Since our last update, the builders have gone upwards and begun work on the roof, and dug further downwards in the basement, but both areas have revealed some unwelcome surprises. In the upper flat, which we knew had not been watertight for years, a lot of dry rot was discovered and parts of walls had to be ripped out and replaced. The roof was also full of years of pigeon dung which had to be removed. Pigeons are still getting into the building and try to nest even as works continue. In the upper flat new panels have been added to allow access to the guttering on the roof, so that it can be cleared more easily in the future. In the video you can spot these square panels.
In the basement, the builders have discovered that part of the Effra flows beneath the bar. This not only makes working in that area difficult but also makes finalising the works on the lift shaft more problematic than expected. These unknown surprises, coupled with the additional asbestos that was discovered when the Bell Theatre and auditorium was levelled has meant that the finishing date will now be pushed back by several weeks. This has a significant financial impact as a weekly cost is incurred every additional week the builders are on site. Some of this extra cost has been swallowed up by a large amount of our contingency but even so, the amount we still have to raise to complete works has increased.
This means that we are still looking for an additional £100,000. We have renewed our fundraising energies and are looking to cast our net further afield. As always, if you are reading this and know anyone who may be able to help us raise this money we would be extremely grateful. SLT have saved this wonderful piece of architecture and building from ruin and in doing so will be able to share this exciting space with our community, but only if we can complete all of the floors. For more information please visit our Support Page.
Please also take a look at our Crowdfunding Project here where we have launched a campaign to help raise pledges for the equipment we will need going back into the new theatre. We really do appreciate any donation of any size and are committed to giving a wonderful art space and local theatre to our community.