Let’s open up Town Hall

Calderdale councillors are to discuss a plan tonight (January 20) which could see up to £5m spent on improving Todmorden Town Hall.

Members of the council’s Safer and Stronger Communities Scrutiny Panel will discuss a report suggesting the following improvements which include installing three new lifts, transforming the caretaker’s flat into a room for civic ceremonies, undertaking full repairs to external stone work and internal repairs.

The proposed improvements are subject to a successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

A development group has been working on the proposals which would see a new mayor’s parlour created above the formal staircase, affording spectacular views across the town.

The oval-shaped room would also be available for marriage ceremonies and other formal gatherings.

All the current community use would be supported, such as dancing, choral/orchestral concerts and exhibitions.

The report to the Scrutiny Panel says that major apartments of the hall are not normally available for viewing without special arrangement so visitors have very limited opportunity to access the town’s principal architectural attraction.

Last year Cabinet allocated £400,000 as match funding and this has opened the way to a Heritage Lottery Fund bid.

It is hoped that a first stage bid would be submitted next month.

Mayor of Todmorden, Margareta Holmstedt, said everything about the town hall revolved around making it more accessible by installing lifts to service the upper floor and the ornate ballroom, but they will be very expensive.

“Because the hall is built over a river it will not be possible to use a traditional and more economical system of counter-weights.

“But I think we have developed a really good scheme which will benefit the town and enable far more people to use the building. The regional lottery organisers have been very positive and we should find out in May if the bid for first stage approval has been a success.”

l WHAT do you think about the plans? Email us at todnews@todmordennews.co.uk or write to us at Fielden Square, Rochdale Road, Todmorden, Lancs, OL14 7LD with your views on the issue.