By John Wimperis, Local Democracy Reporter: The Guildhall has long been at the heart of Bath’s history, with the current Georgian building replacing earlier guildhalls on the site. It is the seat of local government in Bath and North East Somerset, as well as being a popular wedding venue.
Now its entrance lobby is being substantially refurbished with a new reception desk, repainted walls, a new “lockdown” security system.
A planning application submitted by Bath and North East Somerset Council itself in February was approved on April 18 and by April 20 the new “white faux stone” front desk was being installed to the left of the entrance.
The current “unattractive” reception desk which faces the door will be removed and replaced with a digital display. The orange walls of the entrance lobby will also be repainted in “a palette of stone colours,” which the council say will better reflect the character of the building.
Hidden electric bolts will also be installed within the double doors around the room, which will be able to be activated to “lock down” the building. The doors are not original and are believed to have been installed after the 1972 fire at the Guildhall.
In the design and access statement submitted with the planning application, the council said: “Being an important iconic building in Bath, the possibility of a serious security breach is to be considered.”
Approving the plans, the council’s planning officers said: “The proposals would be an acceptable alteration/addition to the listed building that would preserve its significance as a designated heritage asset.”
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