Council backs town hall scheme

TOWN councillors have given their backing to the proposed Todmorden Town Hall refurbishment scheme.

Todmorden town council has written a letter of support for the scheme, which was included in the £5m bid submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund earlier this week.

Coun Dorothy Jordan said: “We have a golden opportunity now and we must use this.”

At last week’s town council meeting, members were given a presentation about the scheme which aims to open up the town hall for more civic and community use and ensure the building’s future.

Karen Lewis, from Calderdale Council, said plans include creating a heritage centre in the basement and opening up the Mayor’s Parlour and committee room for bigger functions.

The ballroom balcony would be extended to provide more seating and the caretaker’s flat would be turned into an oval office for Mayoral engagements and special ceremonies.

Other ideas include a digital archive, audio-visual space and displays of civic regalia and objects of local significance.

All the building’s fixtures would be retained but possibly not in their current location.

Calderdale councillor Olwen Jennings (Lib Dem, Todmorden) said the scheme chosen was the one that had the most public support.

“This is a big opportunity for this building to be regenerated, brought back to life,” she said.

“There’s a lot going on in the town hall but a lot of the time it’s closed.

“We would like to see it open on a daily basis to the public. After all, it belongs to the public.

“We don’t want this town hall to die but it certainly will if we don’t do something with it now.

“If we don’t take this opportunity, it could be another generation before it comes round again.”

Additional funding for the scheme has already been sourced, including £400,000 from Calderdale Council.

The town council will wait until after the upcoming elections to make a decision on whether to contribute some funding.

Coun Margareta Holmstedt, the town council’s representative on the town hall refurbishment project board, said: “I think that although this is not set in stone, the basic idea of making the place more accessible is very important.

“We have got the match funding in place and it seems that we are incredibly lucky to be in this position.”

Coun Janet Battye, leader of Calderdale Council, said: “I’m so pleased after all the hard work and all the different plans that you have come up with a really simple proposal and I really hope that this works.”

l What do you think is the best way to increase use of the town hall? Email todnews@todmordennews.co.uk