Christmas deadline to find £425k to restore almshouses in Alford
THOSE behind an exciting project to restore Alford's historic almshouses say they are feeling positive of raising the £425,000 needed for work to begin.
The official launch of the Sir Robert Christopher's Charity 2012 redevelopment appeal has taken place at Alford Manor House.
The charity, currently has a grant offer of £200,000 from the Homes and Communities Agency but need to find the remaining £225,000 by Christmas.
More details about the project have now emerged following last week's announcement and Trustee David Wood, explains the project is as much about restoration as preservation.
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He said: "The fabric of the buildings is in urgent need of attention really in terms of repointing and rebuilding.
"The roof needs stripping and recovering and gives an opportunity to get insulation levels correct and chimneys need repairing.
"There are several important architectural features on the front elevation which over the years have been damaged by age or lost, for instance plastic gutters have been put up which will be replaced with iron.
"Then there's the fact the accommodation is inadequate in terms of floor area so we have had to carefully design a scheme to extend that."
The West Street properties that currently exist date back to 1870 and replaced existing mud-and-stud buildings from 1670.
The aim is for all four almshouses to be brought back in to use and while the charity will 'let' the properties out, they don't act as traditional landlords, instead occupants pay a weekly contribution to maintenance.
The charity is willing to take out a loan for the work, which will use local tradespeople where possible, but is now fundraising hard to find the remainder of the money.
The current planning permission expires in March 2013, so they hope to start on site by then to avoid having to reapply.
Mr Wood said: "We are launching the local appeal which we are hopeful will bring in some money but also we have approached several grant aiding bodies.
"We are quite positive at the moment, we have had some small amounts promised to us already. That's the purpose of the launch evening, if people can only make the smallest of donations that's still money that doesn't need to be raised.
"One of the reasons we have appealed to the public is because it's an important part of Alford both architecturally and historically and as trustees we are bound to try and carry out the wishes of Robert Christopher in his Will."