With the bill for the repair and conservation of Warwick’s Old Court House soaring well over budget, councillors need to borrow more money.
Town clerk Derek Maudlin warned it might be necessary to spend a further £400,000 on top of the original estimate of £535,000.
He explained that Northamptonshire-based firm Bennie Construction faced a battery of unexpected complications after they began work on the building in Jury Street, which dates back to 1724.
The floor of the ballroom on the first floor did not just need relaying, as was originally supposed, but had to be completely replaced as did some roof joists. And in the cellar, where a lift shaft was being excavated for the Yeomanry Museum, a second lot of asbestos was discovered.
Architects ordered more ventilation, new pipework and electrical installations.
The whole building, which houses the Tourist Information offices, had to be underpinned and has also suffered from water penetration from the long-running roadworks carried out by county council contractors over the past two years.
Mr Maudlin said: “The district council has already given us an interest free loan of £150,000 and the Department of Communities can perhaps take up £250,000 of the costs.
“We could be in need of another £400,000 to complete the whole scheme which will impact on the rate precept if grants are not available.
“We never dreamed there would be so many problems and we cannot apply to the Heritage Lottery Fund again until December. We will not know their response until March 17 but our own financial year ends on March 31.”
Colin Mead, conservation manager at Bennie Construction, said: “Our original schedule of works was correct but then two or three more jobs were required.”
“Since last October we’ve had to do a lot more underpinning that was envisaged which resulted in the architects specifying extra work and a ventilation building.”