A £40,000 refit and extension will provide the Woodmead Halls in Lyme Regis with the best kitchen facilities in the area.

The existing kitchen has been closed until the end of February to allow the work to be completed.

The size of the kitchen at the town’s most popular community venue has been doubled and state-of-the-art equipped. The cost of the project is being met through the hall’s existing funds built up over a number of years.

The new kitchen will enable the halls to secure more bookings for events requiring full catering facilities for up to 150 guests, including annual dinners and wedding receptions.

The halls management committee is also investigating the possibility of obtaining a licence for civic marriage ceremonies to be held at the hall, to tap into the lucrative wedding market.

Further improvements to the halls will include new dividing screens between the large and small hall and extending and a full refit for the small hall which will allow for more effective use of the premises for events of all sizes.

Acting management committee chairman Philip Evans said: “The improvements being carried out will help to boost revenue which can be invested in further improvements for the hall.

“The work has inevitably caused some disturbance and we are very grateful for the understanding shown by regular users of the halls. Whilst the main kitchen will be out of bounds until March, facilities for light refreshments are available.”

Mr Evans said the kitchen will be officially opened at a social evening for hall users and civic guests at a date to be fixed in March when former chairman, Stan Williams, will be officially installed as Life President in honour of his many years of loyal service to the halls.

The Woodmead Halls management meeting is in discussions with Lyme Regis Town Council over the re-opening of the public toilets.