People in Brackley have had a first glimpse of a project worth up to £3 million to secure the future of their iconic town hall.
In addition to essential maintenance work, members of Brackley Town Council hope to secure the financial viability of the 300-year-old building.
Architects have drawn up ideas for the landmark which include a commercial space on the ground floor, a public meeting space on the first floor with improved access and catering facilities and office or self catering accommodation in the attic space.
After a presentation from consultants Ingham Pinnock Associates on Monday, members of the council voted to push forward with the project by investigating sources of funding.
Town clerk Linda Carter said there were still major challenges before they could settle on a final plan, including putting in a lift.
She added: “The next stage is to apply to the Lottery Heritage Fund and it will want to see we are considering a number of options.
“The council has set aside a small amount.
“There’s £300,000 built up in the budget, but we already know just to replace the roof will cost £350,000 and we are looking at an overall cost of between £2 million and £3 million.”
Last weekend up to 100 people visited the town hall during the national Open Heritage Day and were able to explore the attic and learn about some of the buildings hidden secrets.
Artist’s impressions showing some of the possibilities for development were on display during the weekend.
Historian Professor John Clarke also gave a talk to nearly 40 people about the building’s past.
Speaking to the Advertiser he said it was an important building which helped to define the town centre. He said the building had undergone a major change in the 1880s with the addition of a northern extension and enclosure of the ground floor and that it had a history of being adapted to the needs of a particular era.
But he added: “Of course buildings have to change, but I think we just need quite a lot of consultation and care to get any changes right.”
Brackley mayor Peter Rawlinson said he was delighted, adding: “It has been a long journey to get this far and it has only been possible with the hard work of many Brackley town councillors over a number of years.”