Hall for Cornwall closes for two years as major revamp project starts: drummer goes "on holiday" whilst works take place
The Hall for Cornwall has been at the centre of Truro and Cornwall's cultural offering for over 20 years in its current format. Over the past few years, the Hall has been putting together a funding package that will support the complete refurbishment of the Hall with a much-improved and enlarged main auditorium,
Following completion of preparatory building works at Hall For Cornwall (HFC) over the summer, work is now ready to begin on the next stage of the exciting £20m redevelopment project. The successful completion of these preliminary works means that the project remains on schedule for completion in 2020.
Contractors Kier have been removing planters and seating from the area of Lemon Quay adjacent to the HFC building and will begin erecting fencing around the compound area early next week in preparation for the formal handing over of the building on 27th September.
Kier will be carrying out a letter drop to nearby businesses today (Friday 21st September) to provide information about the programme for the works. A member of their team will take the important role of liaising with local businesses and partners to provide timely updates on the progress of the project and to deal with any concerns that may arise.
Following discussions between Cornwall Council, Kier and sculptor Tim Shaw it has been agreed to remove The Drummer for the duration of the redevelopment project to ensure that the iconic 15ft bronze and tin sculpture is not damaged during the construction works. Cornwall Council is leading on making the arrangements for its exciting new location and for communicating the details. The removal will be carried out by Macsalvors, the company which originally erected the sculpture in June 2011 and will be lifted by a crane onto a waiting lorry. Once safely removed, work will begin on erecting the compound area around the construction site.
Once construction formally begins, HFC will work alongside Kier and Cornwall Council to organise a series of hard hat tours, open days and events to encourage people from across Cornwall to visit Truro to see the progress of the redevelopment and enjoy other amenities offered by the city.
In the short term, it is anticipated that there will be up to 85 workers a day on site during the construction period who will be encouraged to use local food retailers, hotels and other facilities in Truro. Kier have been working with Truro BID to draw up a preferred supplier list which will be distributed to all contractors and sub-contractors encouraging them to use local amenities. Partnership working with Truro BID, Truro City Council and Visit Truro will support schemes to attract more people into the city.
HFC has worked closely with Cornwall Council, Truro BID, Kier and some local businesses to create designs for the hoardings surrounding the construction site which will act as a central focus of interest for the public, telling the story of the redevelopment alongside visually celebrating the building’s and Truro’s history and heritage. Local businesses in the immediate vicinity will be supported by the inclusion of orientation and ‘open for business’ messaging, as well as the inclusion of two large Visit Truro maps of the city for use by locals and visitors alike.
In addition, Truro BID will further support the ‘open for business’ messaging by locating their own wayfinding signage on lampposts in Lemon Quay.
The completion of the project will provide capacity for an extra 300 seats in the new auditorium, attracting the very best productions to Cornwall. Whilst more people will be able to attend performances, the tiered auditorium and surrounding spaces within the venue will also offer a flexibility of use for more intimate events and activities from play-reading to book clubs and conferences. The new European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) & Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) funded creative business hub will also give opportunity for resident companies and artists to collaborate together to present their work on-stage or in different spaces throughout the venue.
Plans are also being developed to increase the number of tourists visiting Truro by unveiling the history and heritage of the HFC building and the important role it plays within the City. A Heritage Lottery Funded project will include a series of heritage interpretation activities and events that are intended to encourage new audiences and drive the daytime economy. The development of the new ERDF & LEP funded creative business hub, will provide office and meeting spaces expected to attract up to 40 new small and medium sized creative businesses, generating around £15m for the local economy.
Research from other parts of the country which have carried out similar Capital projects, suggests that redevelopment will deliver long lasting socio-economic benefits to both Truro and the wider Cornish economy.
An economic impact study carried out by Oxford Economics concludes that the redevelopment of Hall For Cornwall will add £35.6 million to the Cornish economy by 2025/26 and create 165 jobs. This is in addition to the impact of the construction works which are predicted to contribute £7.8m to the local economy and create 106 jobs over the life of the project.
The completion of the project will enable HFC to secure the building’s long-term future through increased resilience. Not many people are aware that HFC is a charity and therefore not-for-profit. Only 8% of earned income comes from core funders with all contributions made from the stage, bars and catering reinvested back into the organization to keep it running. It is vital to continue to build a robust business model which not only supports Truro and the wider Cornish economy but allows reinvestment back into the quality of programming, building maintenance and the ongoing training and development of staff teams.
Although 90% of the £19.8m re-build target has been raised, further funds still need to be raised to turn the aspirations for a new theatre into a reality. Over the coming months HFC will be launching a series of initiatives for people to get involved and support the project.