WORK to remove damaged paint from a listed building in Poole has concluded the regeneration project on one of the county’s most historic high streets. 

The Grand Parade in High Street was suffering from damp issues due to an incorrect, non-breathable paint finish being applied over the original limewash coat. 

Bournemouth-based building conservation expert Gary Elford was contracted to undertake the restoration work using a powerful steam cleaning system. 

The project in Poole was one of the first in the UK to see the new machine in action – launched last month after four years in development.

Bournemouth Echo: Gary Elford cleaning in Poole

The machine uses steam at 150C to create an “extremely gentle cleaning operation” which preserves the integrity of historic stonework.  

Gary said: “Unfortunately the existing paintwork is totally the wrong type of finish to be used on a Grade II listed building like this, so it was causing damp issues inside.  

“These buildings were originally designed to allow water vapour to escape through the mortar joints and brickwork, so layering non-breathable paint over the top is a really bad idea. 

Read more: Four years of Poole high street transformation concluded

“I’m happy to have worked with the council to rectify the problem and play my part in improving this part of Poole. The Doff III is perfect for this type of work and it’s great to see it in use.”  

Gary’s work, coordinated with BCP Council and the building owner, was part of the heritage action zone project which focused on the high street and quay.  

The regeneration work to the town centre location has seen repairs to historic buildings and brought vacant premises and upper floors back into use, especially for creative start-ups.  

The work also funded improvements to the public realm and pedestrian routes to make the town centre more attractive and accessible in a bid to improve footfall and vibrancy.  

Business development director Angela Southern, at manufacturer Stonehealth, said: “We care about the preservation of historic buildings and so it is important that contractors using our systems are properly trained in the right techniques and maintenance.  

“Gary has been working with our machines for many years so we know he’s done the machine and the centre of Poole proud. 

“Overall we’re delighted to see the new Doff in action – there’s a reason it’s the market leader and we expect to see it deployed in many more projects over coming months and years.”