Assembly Rooms refurbishment scoops property award

A scheme to breathe new life into Ludlow’s Assembly Rooms has taken the top spot at awards that recognise the cream of the Midlands’ property industry.

Pave Aways Building Contractors, which carried out the £3.5m scheme for Shropshire Council, won the Fit-out / Refurbishment of the Year at the Insider West Midlands Property Awards for its work on the south Shropshire arts, entertainment and community venue.

The 21st edition of the awards, that took place in Birmingham on November 4, had attracted a record number of entries and reflected the surging confidence in the sector.

The renovation and refurbishment of the Assembly Rooms included re-instating the original Castle Square entrance, redesigning the auditorium, creating a new box office, improvements to accessibility, a visitor information centre and café bar, modernisation of the mechanical and technical equipment and the installation of photovoltaic panels to generate electricity.

The work was predominantly funded by Shropshire Council with grants also received from the European Regional Development Fund and Arts Council England and Ludlow and District Community Association.

The judges commented: “This was a project beset with challenges, including a constrained budget, the Covid-19 pandemic and a deathwatch beetle infestation. But the end result was a true community facility, which adds to the fabric of the town centre, aiding its economic recovery.”

Pave Aways’ Commercial Director Victoria Lawson, who collected the award, said she was delighted that the project had achieved the recognition it deserved.

“The Assembly Rooms is an important asset for Ludlow and the work we carried out has created a state-of-the-art venue that is fit for the future. Our team worked in challenging circumstances including throughout the covid pandemic and deserve the credit for their hard work.

“Shropshire Council and the team at the Assembly Rooms had a clear vision to deliver a first class venue for Ludlow and achieving this recognition from our colleagues in the industry is the icing on the cake.”

Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, culture, leisure and tourism, and transport, said: “This was a complex project but we are absolutely thrilled with how it has transformed the cultural jewel of South Shropshire into a modern and impressive facility.

“It is fantastic to hear the project has won this award and we also pay tribute to the impressive work the Pave Aways team carried out. It is a perfect example of how Shropshire Council, the community and private enterprise can work together to improve our facilities countywide.”