EMERGENCY repairs which closed a busy arts centre only weeks after it had reopened cost a staggering £438,000 it has been revealed.

Bewilderment greeted the news in December that the Old Court arts centre in St Leonard’s Road, Windsor, was closing for for emergency maintenance and would be out of action for 10 weeks. A need for rewiring and repairs was sited – but many were confused by the news which came only two months after a centre had a glittering re-opening under new management.

A Freedom of Information request made by a member of the public has revealed the cost of that work. It also revealed that the Windsor and Eton Brewery, which runs the bar, had to be compensated for loss of earnings.

Dan Eastmond ran the arts centre for almost a decade before the Royal Borough awarded the lease to new tenant Martin Denny. This week Mr Eastmond expressed his bemusement over why an inspection had closed the centre so soon after it re-opened.

He said the electrical equipment had been regularly checked under his watch – with the fire alarm system that was replaced during the recent closure always given a clean bill of health. He said: “The thing that surprises me is that everyone knew six months before I moved out that I was going and I made it clear that there was open access for any checks that needed to be made before I left.” He said no one had taken up the offer.

This week there were indications that the Royal Borough had been taken by surprise by the result of the surveyor’s inspection that led to the sudden closure. Cllr Phill Bicknell – the borough’s deputy leader and representative on Berkshire Fire Authority – said the Grenfell tragedy had had a major effect, saying: “I don’t believe there was any neglect per se, but I believe inspections have become more stringent and the regulations have been tightened up.” He said the cost should be put in perspective. Rewiring a school three years ago cost the council £1million.

Cllr Samantha Rayner, cabinet member for culture and communities, said: “As part of the project facilities were refreshed as well as dealing with some essential emergency maintenance. Further re-wiring, repairs to the building and a new ventilation system were required.”