Finally... work begins

WORK on restoring Kennaway House will begin in June, now a contractor has been selected.

WORK on restoring Kennaway House will begin in June, now a contractor has been selected.Trustees have chosen Exeter firm Imperial Construction and asked the Heritage Lottery Fund, which granted £485,000 towards the estimated £950,000 refurbishment, for permission to start work."It has taken several months longer than we wanted," said Mike James, Kennedy House chairman."This was firstly to avoid taking the roof off in mid winter, then there was a delay because a condition of the lottery grant is that brickwork repairs to the outside walls should be carried out by an approved contractor."It took time to get the architect, HLF and the specialist to agree the extent and nature of repairs."I understand the work will be done by a group of cathedral stonemasons. Since this involves a major part of the budget - nearly £100,000, we had to get it right before going ahead," said Dr James.Sidmothian Andrew Hoare, managing director of Imperial Construction knows Kennaway House well. Last July, just before its closure as Church House, he attended Spanish classes there.Mr Hoare, 37, said: "It is a fantastic project. I've looked at it from day one and targeted it as being one I wanted to be involved with."The company has undertaken various refurbishments, including Exmouth Baptist church and Torquay museum, as well as new builds like a new technology block at Colyton Grammar School.Mr Hoare confirmed a June start date and estimated it would be finished by March 2009.Dr James added: "They are aware of our need to reopen as soon as possible. We have lost three or four months, but frankly, after half a century of decay; which came close to closing the house forever, that really doesn't seem too bad."After six years of fundraising, in which so many people have helped, it's excellent the restoration is finally about to begin.

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