SOUTHAMPTON’S most iconic monument is set for a £250,000 facelift.
Civic chiefs have rubberstamped the project to restore the 800-year-old structure the historic Bargate to put a halt to major erosion damage.
And the project could result in the building used by the public once again, with the city council looking for a permanent occupant of the space above the gate.
A survey carried out by the council’s private sector partner Capita revealed the stone structure on the north side is being eroded due to penetration by rain water. And with the extent of the erosion and the damage to the building getting worse, Labour council bosses have decided to spend £250,000 to refurbish the famous landmark.
The work will not result in major changes to the appearance of the building as its main purpose is to preserve the structure.
A timetable of when the work will take place has not yet been decided.
Council leader Simon Letts said: “The Bargate is one of our most iconic structures and it is the duty of the council to preserve it for future generations.”
“We will be actively looking for a permanent user for the space above the gate when the works have been completed."
It is thought the space could be used as an art gallery or community space again, which was its last use until 2012.
HISTORIC SYMBOL OF SOUTHAMPTON
THE Bargate is the symbol of Southampton and has been a familiar sight at the heart of the city since it was built in the late 12th century as the main gateway to the old walled city.
The stone and flint structure has seen many additions over the centuries, with large towers added around 1290 and new archways added in 1764 and 1774.
The room above the gate has had many uses. It was the city’s guildhall until the 1770s and then became a prison after the establishment of Southampton’s police force in 1836.
It was separated from the town walls in the 1930s and was the police headquarters during the Second World War.
It was closed for many years before becoming an art gallery in 2006.