THE restored façade of Bolton Town Hall is slowly being revealed - as the town's food festival gets underway.

Bolton Council had hoped to remove the last of the scaffolding covering the front of the building prior to the town’s food and drink festival which is taking place this weekend.

But while some of the hoardings have been removed, preparations for the three day festival on Victoria Square meant the final phase had to be delayed.

Refurbishment work on the town hall was raised at full council.

Cllr Sean Hornby said: “What is the situation on the repairs and restoration? How long will it be before we see this magnificent building free from scaffolding and looking at its best?”

New council leader Cllr Martyn Cox,said: “We inherited this fantastic Victorian building from our forefathers.

“People who used to sit in this chamber gave us this magnificent palace. It’s our responsibility to hand it on to the next generations.

“A significant piece of masonry fell from the portico at the front of the town hall but thankfully nobody was underneath at the time. We decided the portico needed a full refurbishment which has been a hugely expensive job.

“I’m proud we’ve done a thorough and proper job.

“The work is finished, the scaffolding will be coming down directly after the food and drink festival.

“I wish it had come down before the festival but I’ve been told the two operations would get in each other’s way."

During the work the nine historic sculpture, built by William Calder Marshall between 1866 and 1873, above the entrance were repaired and cleaned in a ‘once in a generation’ project at the listed building.

The pediment sculpture group is described as ‘an important work’ by the sculptor William Calder Marshall, symbolising the commerce and manufacturing underpinning Bolton’s wealth at the time of its construction.

Parts of it were described as being at risk of ‘potential collapse’ if fractures and corrosion are left unchecked.

The central figure represents Bolton, with a mural crown, holding a shield on which is the borough coat of arms.

The figures to the right and left represent ‘manufacture’ and commerce’.

Other elements of the sculpture include ‘wheat’, ‘earth’, ‘child with a basket of cotton’, ‘boy holding a boat by the bow’, ‘ocean’ and ‘fish’.