WORK on the £4.5 million redevelopment of Skipton Town Hall suspended due to coronavirus has restarted after the Government changed its guidance for the construction industry.

Craven District Council and its contractor Bermar have agreed to continue the development project, with a reduced workforce to ensure safe working, said the council this week.

There is a reduced number of workers on site, to ensure social distancing, a one way system, additional hand washing, sanitising and the provision of personal protection equipment (PPE).

Danielle Daglan, the council’s cultural services manager, said the council was committed to completing the project ‘as soon as possible’.

“Completing this redevelopment is now even more important as it will play an integral part in our overall response to Covid- 19 recovery, both in terms of contribution to local economy and community wellbeing.

“The completion of the project was due in winter 2020 – this is now unlikely although it is difficult to say exactly when the town hall and museum will reopen as this is an evolving situation. We want to complete the project as quickly and as safely as possible and we will keep everyone updated on our progress.”

The workforce is expected to increase back to full strength as and when certain restrictions are lifted and further updated guidance is issued, added the council.

When completed, the £4.5 million project will deliver a restored and upgraded Concert Hall, a completely redesigned Craven Museum, and a new gallery space.

A new extension at the back of the town hall will house a dedicated education space, museum store and research facility, plus flexible use dressing rooms and toilets, including an accessible Changing Place Toilet. Two accessible lifts are being installed to the front of the new museum and within the rear extension.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund gave a grant of £1.5 million to the council, which is part-funding the ambitious redevelopment plans.

The project is also being funded with £943,800 of match-funding and capital funding of £532,390 from Craven District Council. The remaining £1.6m is being underwritten by the council, with funding applications pending, it says.