A survey of the Mechanics' Institute will be carried out over the next few weeks after council officials gained access.

The move comes after the owner ignored an enforcement notice.

Once the report has been written it will allow the council and its partners at English Heritage to work out what can be done with the building at the heart of the village’s Heritage Action Zone.

In a statement the council said: “The building is owned by a private company called Forefront Estates. In the autumn, we sent them a legal enforcement notice – but it was ignored.

“This allowed us to step in and cut back the vegetation that had been left to grow, and that work has now been completed.

A survey that will allow us to assess the proper condition of the building will be completed in the next few weeks.”

It added that specialist consultants 4th Street are working on a feasibility study about what use the building could be put to, if and when it is restored.

“This will examine old and new ideas and will present some possible future uses for the building. The study is being finalised.

“Once the condition survey and viability study have been completed, they will be made public and will inform future decisions.”

Ideas include a community theatre and performance space, educational use or a business centre.