Revealed: The state of town halls in Dewsbury, Batley and Cleckheaton - and their cost to Kirklees Council
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These plans, among others for buildings in Dewsbury, come as a bid to save £455,000 and help the council make the £47.8m saving required to avoid effective bankruptcy.
Huddersfield and Dewsbury Town Halls are regarded as “core assets” and will remain at the centre of Kirklees’ civic and democratic life.
Millions of pounds are required to run and maintain the halls, with each having a backlog of maintenance projected to cost between £4m and £20m.
Below is a breakdown of each of Kirklees’ town halls and the work required at each.
Huddersfield Town Hall is the council’s main civic building and has the greatest repairs backlog of all the halls.
Work has been going on for the past seven years on the exterior of the building that is due to finish at the end of this year or early 2024, but the council says a forward-plan is required to consider the interior beyond basic repairs.
Each year, the hall costs £525,000 to run and the costs of full repairs and maintenance are projected to cost more than £20m.
Dewsbury Town Hall is the only one to be described as being in “reasonable repair”. The site is said to have no immediate significant issues and has a proposed 10-year maintenance programme.
The hall costs £420,000 to run each year and its backlog of maintenance is approximately £4m.
The council says the building could be used more effectively and proposes the addition of some office space, allowing offices the council leases at Empire House to be vacated.
Also, the council proposed that if Huddersfield Town Hall had to be closed as a result of the work being carried out there, Dewsbury’s hall would be used for council business.
Cleckheaton Town Hall had already been closed and is pending “specialist investigation” due to safety issues above the stage area. It was previously used for events and by the community but all uses have been redirected to other locations.
The council says the venue will continue to be closed and mothballed while investigation and review work is carried out.
The hall has an annual running cost of £175,000 and a maintenance backlog that is expected to be far more than £5m.
The next three to five years will see the hall require significant repairs and refurbishment including full window repairs, a full electrical rewire, structural issues to be investigated and ceilings replaced.
Batley Town Hall costs £255,000 to run each year and has a maintenance backlog of around £5m. The venue currently has issues with lath and plaster that need short-term repairs but in the longer-term, a series of more extensive works will be required.
Over the next three to five years, the hall’s structural issues will need to be addressed as well as a list of other works that will need to be carried out. These include a full electrical rewire, fire compartmentalisation, replacement ceilings and a full redecoration.