New stairs which will give access to the walkway around the clocktower at the Tolbooth could be installed by the end of June.
It is hoped that the development will become a visitor attraction with the opening of the walkway providing views across the town.
AJ Engineering has designed the stairway and fabrication is underway.
Graham Alexander, general manager of AJE said: “It’s all drawn up and the fabrication of the stairway is about to start. Depending on the government restrictions regarding essential work, we hope that we will be able to have the stairs installed by the end of June.”
He added: “The Tolbooth is one of the town’s oldest buildings and these new stairs will certainly be robust enough to last for hundreds of years to come. The development at the Tolbooth is going to be a fantastic addition and will be another reason for people to visit our great town.”
The old wooden stairs which were removed by volunteers revealed signatures which it is believed are of workmen who put in the original stairs.
George Alexander, chairman of the Trust said: “We were able to remove the stairs quite easily and in doing so we revealed the signatures. There is always some little gem that you come across when carrying out renovations in a building with such historical significance. I dare say that when AJ Engineering come to install the new staircase, we will ask the workers to continue this tradition and put their signatures somewhere too.”
Speaking of the hopes for the project, George added: “Not many people know about the walkway and our aim is to make is safely accessible for locals and tourists. We are delighted that it is progressing at such a pace. The next steps will be to repair the lead floor of the gallery around the clock and replace some of the pointing on the stonework. Once this is done then the third stage is to get the walkway made safe for the public by getting a safety rail of some sort designed and installed around the parapet.”
The project has received £9375 from the Town Centre Regeneration Funding which was allocated for ‘alterations to the outside gallery around the clock tower.’