PHASE one of the £5.6 million restoration of Newbridge Memo is now expected to be completed next March – around three months later than planned.

The first phase, which is seeing community rooms, a library and information centre created in the old Institute, was expected to be finished by the end of this year.

But, Memo and Institute chairman Howard Stone said bad weather set work back, while the construction firm working there found it to be a more complex job than first envisaged.

One of the first major milestones was achieved in September, though, when a 10-foot high ventilation shaft was placed on top of the Institute.

This was a replica of one there when the institute first opened in 1908. After it was completed, an old—fashioned topping out ceremony took place, which marked the fact that the old building was watertight once again. Mr Stone said it is hoped that the new library on the site will open within weeks of phase one being completed, probably during April.

Phase two of the work will then start, which will see the Grade Two-listed Memorial Hall, opened in 1924, restored.

The ballroom and cinema were originally built as a memorial to local servicemen who died in the First World War, with work on these expected to take most of 2013.

Restoration work follows an Argus-backed nine-year campaign to raise the funds, with it forming a major part of Caerphilly council’s £12 million regeneration of Newbridge.