Kennaway restoration nears climax

PUBLISHED: 15:46 14 December 2008 | UPDATED: 11:54 17 June 2010

KENNAWAY House shed its temporary roof last week as the £1 million, seven year fight to restore the building reaches its climax.

KENNAWAY House shed its temporary roof last week as the £1 million, seven year fight to restore the building reaches its climax.

Roads were closed and contractors were on site at 5am last Friday (December 5) as a giant crane removed steel girders weighing several tones.

Chairman of Kennaway House Dr Michael James said: "It was delicate and could have been risky."

"But the Imperial Construction team did a very professional job. We're very grateful to all our neighbours for their understanding and cooperation when the road had to be closed for safety."

The temporary roof has been on the house since early August while the permanent structure underneath was restored.

Site manager Mike Bovingdon said: "The roof has been rebuilt with timber and steel,"

"It is all battened, felted and watertight, half the slates are already in place and the rest will be complete before Christmas."

After years of dogged fund raising, the project is nearing completion. Dr James added: "It is a great moment. It is only seven years since the House was derelict, dangerous and facing demolition. Now the restoration is almost complete. We plan to reopen in late April, with a grand opening in June - possibly the 20th, so watch this space."

The restored Kennaway House will have full disabled access, with a passenger lift linking the lower ground floor, ground and first floors. It will also have a professional kitchen and basement bar.

Dr James said: "This is a completely new start."

"We are working hard now to see that it is well used as a centre for the arts, education and the community, something Sidmouth does not have at present. We still need to raise another £150,000 to secure its future and there are a few things we haven't yet been able to afford - for example, we need two or three chandeliers, antique or modern, to go in the fine Regency rooms on the ground floor, which will make a wonderful setting for weddings and receptions."

Anybody wishing to help the cause can contact Dr James on (01297) 680382, or at michael@hartlandpress.freeserve.co.uk. All help will be acknowledged in the restored House.

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