A quarter of a million pound project to revamp an ‘outdated’ meeting house in Harpenden began on Tuesday.

The Quaker meeting house in Southdown Road is to benefit from rejuvenated meeting rooms and a new entrance with ramped access and wider doors to make it wheelchair accessible.

The building has been an important asset to the town for more than 80 years but in 2009 group members said they felt it was outdated and did not meet users’ expectations. 

Donald Robertson, Convenor of the Meeting’s Premises Development Group said: "These much-needed improvements will benefit the meeting and the building’s current and future users.

"The savings we make from reduced running costs will mean we will be able to keep hire charges down, bringing further benefit to Harpenden’s community groups and organisations.

"We are really looking forward to seeing the work take shape over the coming weeks, and cannot wait to reopen the building to all."

Two meeting rooms will be remodelled and a new extension will provide more space and wheelchair access to the garden. The kitchen will be enlarged and the toilets refurbished, adding fixtures for wheelchair users and baby changing. A separate storage area for furniture and users' equipment will also be created.

As well as improving the building’s interior, windows and doors will be replaced with double glazing, adding insulation and installing energy-efficient lights.

The project has been funded by the Harpenden Meeting’s own reserves, the Area Quaker Meeting, who contributed £100,000, The Veolia Environmental Trust, who awarded £50,000 through the Landfill Communities Fund and the central Meeting Houses Fund, who donated £15,000.