Town Hall is placed on heritage ‘at risk’ register

Councillor David O'Neill outside Todmorden Town Hall
Councillor David O'Neill outside Todmorden Town Hall
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ENGLISH Heritage has added Todmorden Town Hall to its heritage at risk register due to concerns about the stonework and uncertainty surrounding the future use of the Grade I listed building.

The iconic structure is among 91 Grade 1 and II listed buildings in Yorkshire to be placed on the register in 2012.

A report produced by English Heritage said: “The Grade I listed town hall opened in 1875 and was designed by John Gibson for local textile manufacturers Samuel, John and Joshua Fielden.

“The building has impressive finely carved statuary; the carvings on the left hand side pediment represent Lancashire and on the right hand side Yorkshire.

“High level stonework is in a poor condition and the future use of the building is uncertain.”

Todmorden town councillor David O’Neill said he knew there were concerns about the town hall but thought that the ongoing work being carried out on the building would have helped to improve the situation.

“I’m concerned about the scaffolding having been there for four years and is still there,” he said.

“The people of Todmorden have had to put up with this for a long time.

“I always get asked: ‘When is the scaffolding coming down?’

“It’s off the round end of the town hall but still up on the front.”

The town council is looking at ways to improve the condition of the building.

“We have been talking at Todmorden Town Council that, if Calderdale Council feel that they have done all they can, we are going to try to put some money in to do the inside up,” Coun O’Neill said.

“Now we have got some money and have asked if we can be allowed to do that to make it a liveable place for the people who use it.”

He was scheduled to meet with Calderdale councillors and officers this week to discuss the matter.

Robin Tuddenham, Calderdale Council’s director of communities, said: “We recognise the importance of Todmorden Town Hall to local people.

“We are currently in discussion with Todmorden Town Council and English Heritage about our future plans.”

Trevor Mitchell, English Heritage’s planning and conservation director for Yorkshire and the Humber, said listed buildings are the essential building blocks of Yorkshire’s distinctive heritage.

“When one of them is lost, it’s as though someone has torn a page from our history book - each one tells a story of our shared past,” he said.

“With the economic climate putting more pressure than ever on listed buildings, it’s going to take a tremendous team effort but as the Olympics have shown, that’s something this country is good at.”