TAVISTOCK mayor Paul Ward has dedicated a major construction award for building excellence to the people who have made the town’s Guildhall project a success.
Cllr Ward and Cllr Harry Smith, who has been a driving force behind the project, officially received the award at a town council meeting, but the recently-elected mayor said: ‘This isn’t just about us – it’s about everyone who made this happen.’
The Guildhall won the award for the Best Large Commerial Development at a recent Building Excellence Awards 2022 ceremony. It was awarded by the Constructing Excellence organisation, which is made up of representatives of UK-wide firms. The council won the regional competition and could win a further award at national level.
Cllr Ward said: ‘It’s lovely (to get the award) and it reflects the extremely hard work of everyone involved in it. I think it’s difficult for people to realise how much work has gone into it, because it’s been a decade since it started. I have to take my hat off to the council officers, particularly the general manager, Wayne Southall, because there’s been all sorts of problems and he kept driving forward to keep it going. Without him, I don’t honestly believe it would have happened.
‘And our contractors (RM Builders and Contractors) who worked on the building, have done really well. They had a difficult time with Covid, when everything stopped, then when they did come back they had to limit the number of people on the site because of distancing restrictions and they had supply problems, which were also caused by Covid, and it was difficult getting the stuff they needed. They overcame it all and gave us a build which I feel we can be proud of.’
Cllr Ward said the town council’s partners in the project, Tavistock Heritage Trust, had done a ‘fantastic’ job in putting together a record of the town’s mining heritage inside the building.
He added: ‘I think the project has exceeded everyone’s expectations and this award is for everyone who had anything to do with it.’
Tavistock Town Council bought the Grade II listed building in 2014 to rescue it from decline and to bring it back into public use as a heritage centre. With funding from the National Heritage Lottery Fund, West Devon Borough Council, Devon County Council and other organisations, it opened last December.