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Damage to Royal Wootton Bassett town hall a mystery
Royal Wootton Bassett Town Council has ordered an urgent examination of damage caused to one of the pillars supporting the town hall.
The town council has called in a building surveyor to assess the damage to the pillar, which faces the road and is part of the Grade II-listed High Street landmark.
The cause of the damage is unknown, but possible explanations are it was the result of a vehicle collision or the icy weather causing part of the stone to crumble.
The town hall was built at the end of the 17th century and owes its existence to the political ambitions of the Hyde family, the Earls of Clarendon, who presented the building to the town.
The upper floor was a council chamber built on 15 pillars, but it now houses a museum.
The building was extensively restored in 1889.
A spokesman for the town council said: “We are not sure what caused the damage but we have called a building surveyor in urgently. We are hoping they will come this week and we can sort it out as soon as possible.”
Town councillor Chris Wannell, a former mayor, said restoration work was scheduled for later this year but he was concerned at the damage.
He said: “I’m very passionate about protecting the town hall – it’s an iconic building for the town and we like to look after it.
“It’s a part of our heritage and we need to protect it.
“If something has clipped it, it would not be the first time. When I was a firefighter in the ’90s, a lorry caught it and we had to prop it up temporarily.
“The outside pillars do have a protective coat on them to protect them from the weather. When the salt spreaders throw up spray, it can damage them.
“There is significant work to be done this year, including redoing the protective coating on the pillars as well as replacing corners that have worn away.”