WORK is well underway on a major refurbishment to Ludlow Assembly Rooms.

It will result in the venue having new seating, air conditioning, increased accessibility and much more.

The project - called ‘A Sustainable Future for Ludlow Assembly Rooms” - is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Arts Council England, Shropshire Council and Ludlow Assembly Rooms.

“It’s great to see the project actually coming to life,” said Gareth Williams, chair of Ludlow Assembly Rooms.

“It has been a long time in development with the hard work of previous Chairs Tony Blench and Mike Penn and all our many friends and supporters helping to bringing it to where we are today.”

Work is being carried out by Shropshire-based PaveAways and is due to be completed by late September 2019.

“We know that arts and culture positively contribute to people’s well-being and the wider economy,” added Lexley Picton, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet Members for Culture and Leisure.

“Venues like the Assembly Rooms play a crucial role in making an area a great place to live, work and visit.”

The work will mean that there will be a 50 per cent reduction in the building’s carbon footprint, plus increased accessibility, with a new and reliable lift, better, more accessible toilets and baby changing, plus increased and improved seating with enhanced visibility in the auditorium.

Helen Hughes, the voluntary Chief Executive of the facility, says that people will notice the difference although much of the work will be done out of sight.

“I’m thrilled that work is happening,” she said.

“Although most of the money is being spent behind the scenes it’s great that we will have new comfortable raked seating in the auditorium along with air conditioning.”

The main entrance will revert back to the original site on Castle Square as the Assembly Rooms also take on the ground floor of the building for the first time.

This space will have a new café and the Visitor information Centre and Box-Office will be combined in a visible area at the front of the building.

Lyndon Goode Architects developed a masterplan that will see Ludlow Assembly Rooms become one of the best rural venues in the region.

“The scheme respects and enhances the 1839 building’s neoclassical Victorian architecture, and its long history as a venue for social gatherings,” said Laura Davies, the project architect who is overseeing the work on the Assembly Rooms.

We are optimising the environment for all of the uses of the building from cinema, comedy, live music and theatre, to community spaces, to help secure the venue’s future as a regional beacon for the arts, culture and community.”

Peter Knott, Area Director at Arts Council England, said that the organisation was pleased to have been involved in making the project possible.

“We are delighted to be supporting the development of the Assembly Rooms so it can continue to bring vibrant programmes of great arts and culture to the people of the town and surrounding areas long into the future,” said Mr Knott.

The auditorium will be up and running again by the end of September, but films and live music will continue to be available in Oscars and the Studio Room.