Restoration work on a former stately home in Sherborne has been delayed by at least six months.
Builders working to return Sherborne House to its former glory encountered structural problems with the rear wall. The delays mean visitors eager to catch a glimpse inside the 18th-century building will have to wait until next autumn at the earliest.
The former arts centre and home of Lord Digby’s School began its transformation in February and was meant to be completed in March next year.
Bristol-based developers Redcliffe Homes was granted planning permission in 2011 to develop Sherborne House, as well as building 44 homes in the grounds. The company secured more than £4m of funding for the project.
Part of the planning agreement granted by West Dorset District Council bound Redcliffe to complete the restoration work by the time the 22nd new home was built. Once refurbished, it will house office space and a cafe and will aim to attract visitors by staging exhibitions and events.
John McQueen, Redcliffe Homes land director, said the wall has now been stabilised.
He said: “When we demolished the 1960s laboratory extensions at the rear of the building, we found the wall had been constructed with stone rubble which was unstable. In consultation with English Heritage and West Dorset District Council, we have now stabilised the wall so work can begin on the construction of the stairwell and lift shaft, a six-month job.
“We are now working on the internal restoration of the house and the Thornhill mural is looking superb following the conservation work that was completed earlier this year.”
The mural, which laces the staircase of Sherborne House and depicts a tale of Greek mythology, will remain sealed until all work is completed.
Scaffolding at the site is gradually being dismantled, with 60 per cent of it now gone, Redcliffe Homes reported.