THE multi-million pound new exhibition hall at the Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, is taking shape as the steelwork structure is put in place.

The exhibition hall will almost double the showground's indoor exhibition space and is expected to be finished by spring next year.

The whole project, which includes substantial landscaping has a price tag of £2.25m.

Contractors Simpson Construction of York began work in August with the foundations completed on time by mid-October.

"The work is going extremely well," said Raymond Twiddle, Chairman of Yorkshire Agricultural Enterprises.

He added: "The weather hasn't helped but amazingly the building is still on schedule. We're delighted with the way it's going."

A brick and block cavity retaining wall 80m long and 2.7m high containing 40m of reinforced concrete has been constructed.

Some 200 tonnes of structural steel is currently being erected onto a concrete platform.

The project involves major earth works to form a viewing platform across the country pursuits area and picturesque Crimple Valley.

Architects for the project are Gelder and Kitchen of Hull.

The single storey building will measure 1,950m which, coupled with the existing hall makes a total of 5,372m .

The two halls will be linked by a cafeteria and restaurant area and so each can be used as stand alone venues or together for larger events. The new hall will be 48m in length, 38m wide and 5.5m to the eaves.

One of the first events expected to make use of the new facilities will be the Harrogate Flower Show, running from 26 to 29 April, 2001.