The Bartholomew Room stands in the Market Square at the heart of Eynsham and has been a focal point at every season of the year for centuries, presiding over a calendar that includes Eynsham Morris dance on May Day, Eynsham Artweeks, Eynsham Carnival, Eynsham Flower Festival, Remembrance Sunday and the Christmas lights.
The scene above with a market in the foreground dates from the early 1980s - the old market cross was replaced in February 1991 - but would have changed little in living memory.
Bartholomew Room Refurbishment Project
A condition survey of the building was undertaken in January 2018 which highlighted the need for some essential maintenance and recommended re-arrangement of the kitchen and toilet on the lower floor to allow ease of use for disabled persons. It’s taken time to meet contractors to consider exactly what work is needed (structural survey, asbestos survey etc) and to consider how it might be funded. The building has undergone various one-off maintenance tasks since it was purchased in 1983, however this project will ensure the building stands in good stead for many years to come.
A Project Manager has been appointed to pursue a planning application, draft a Schedule of Works and produce other key documents and reports. The project will cost in the region of £125,000. A Public Works Loan / West Oxfordshire District Council Loan for £100,000 will be sought (our article in issue 41 of the Eynsham News refers) and we will also apply for community grants.
The Council commissioned building valuation reports to help understand the 'before and 'after' refurbishment work values to inform decisions. Whilst the reports have been necessary and informative, they do not quantify the value of the building to the community and this is a key consideration in the project. Future community use of the building and a Tender Report was considered at the March 2020 Parish Council meeting and a contractor was approved.
The Clerk is seeking the authority to borrow from the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government and a loan will be applied for when approval is received. Watch this space for further updates.