Councillors agree on urgent repair work for Saffron Walden Town Hall
PUBLISHED: 15:26 14 April 2016 | UPDATED: 15:26 14 April 2016
Saffron Walden town councillors say urgent work is needed to repair the town hall and that a long-term government loan is needed to finance the improvements.
A programme of renovations has been agreed by councillors after the Market Square building was found to be in an even worse state than expected when it was assessed during the tendering process for repairs.
The full proposal for the improvements will be reviewed at an extraordinary meeting of the town council on Monday, April 18, with work expected to start on the building shortly.
There was cross-party support for the option of the government long-term loan to finance the improvements, which will cost more than £500,000, and councillors say it is necessary to meet the increased cost of completing the work all at once.
Councillors will decide on Monday whether to fund the work through a Public Works Loan Board (PWLB), which carries a maximum amount of £500,000, and the period of time that they will pay it back.
A 10-year loan for the maximum amount of £500,000 would cost the council £54,803 per year in repayments.
Residents for Uttlesford (RFU) councillor Paul Fairhurst said: “It is well known that poor maintenance by previous councils has left us with a town hall that is falling down.
“But during the tendering process, it became clear that the building is in an even worse state and repairs more urgent. We now propose to undertake all the renovations more quickly, which will include the roof, masonry, windows, lift, and boiler.
“In order to complete the works all at once and meet the increased cost, it has been proposed that the council should consider that the additional investment is met via a long-term loan.
“Restoring our town hall to an accessible and fully functioning venue will the allow the generation of income, which should more than off-set the cost of this borrowing.”
Town mayor Heather Asker said: “Our town hall is at the very heart of Saffron Walden. It is important that we return it to a proper condition as soon as possible. We are looking forward to reviewing the proposal at the meeting on Monday.”