A “serious pigeon infestation” at Dorking Halls is going to be tackled as part of a £270,000 refurbishment that will also see windows that no longer open replaced.
Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) will vote on whether to approve funding for the work, which includes repainting and rendering the outside of the building and roof repairs, at a meeting on October 10.
A report to the council from Keith Garrow, general manager of Dorking Halls, states that the walls are falling apart and windows are at risk of falling on people.
Speaking to Get Surrey , he said: “The building has been here since the 1930s and any building of this size that has been here that long is going to need general maintenance from time to time to keep its value.
“Obviously most of the work here is to the outside of the building and that is very important in keeping everything watertight.”
The report says £115,000 is required for the repainting and rendering work on the outside of the building to prevent damage from damp.
The building is quite literally falling apart too, with the report stating: “Chunks of render have already fallen off the rear of the building, leaving the wall unprotected and presenting a potential health and safety issue.”
A further £28,000 is needed to replace 1950s windows that are “warped, don’t open and are at risk of falling into the great hall”.
Another £23,000 is needed to “ensure all areas of the building remain watertight”.
In the report it is also stated that Dorking Halls is suffering from a “serious pigeon infestation” and that £20,000 worth of work is required for cleaning and the installation of pigeon nets.
Councillor for Dorking South Margaret Cooksey said the maintenance of Dorking Halls is of great importance to the town.
She said: “It is important that this work, which is badly needed, is carried out in a timely fashion as it is important we don’t let it deteriorate to a point when we are not able to afford the work.
“Dorking Halls is a very important part of the town. Not just to those who live in Dorking but also because it brings people in from outside of the town to visit a concert or a show.”
Mr Garrow said Dorking Halls now attracts about 200,000 people a year compared with 160,000 a year in 2013.
He said the result is that there is more revenue coming in so the money should be available to carry out the work.
He added: “We are having more cinema and event screenings now as well as more events. We are also seeing a lot more hire events now and the business is getting particularly busy on that side.”
The money from the repairs would either be borrowed or taken from the reserve that MVDC retains for asset upkeep. This reserve currently stands at £5.75m.
The decision on whether to approve the work will be made at the full council meeting on October 10.
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