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A new lease of life for Bingley Town Hall?
A Council plan to pull out of Bingley Town Hall could have hidden benefits for the community.
The Bingley Civic Trust has welcomed the idea of transferring ownership to a community group so the building can be opened up once more.
The town hall, which still has its wood-panelled Council Chamber, is used as offices for staff in the Council’s Adult Services department and is usually closed to members of the public.
But Bradford Council has revealed plans to move its staff and does not yet know what it will do with the building once it is empty.
On Wednesday, executive member for the environment Councillor Andrew Thornton (Lab), who is overseeing the project, said: “We haven’t yet decided what the potential future use or uses are for Bingley Town Hall.
“At the moment it is purely offices for Adult Services and there isn’t public access to it, so we need to look at what the future use could be.”
He said the authority would be “open to” the idea of transferring ownership to a community group, under new Community Asset Transfer powers.
Now Dr John Findlay, chairman of Bingley Civic Trust, which meets in the town hall, has given a cautious welcome to that idea.
He said: “I think that would be a brilliant idea, because we need something like that. We do use it for meetings, but if it was better known, I think it would work.
“The thing is, how is it going to be financed if the Council have bailed out?”
A group hoping to set up a local parish council for Bingley also stressed the importance of retaining the building for the town.
Ros Dawson, a volunteer for the group, said: “It’s an important asset for Bingley and it would be great if it could be used for the good of the local community.”
The staff currently in the town hall are to be moved to Keighley as part of a £270,000 project in the latest stage of the Council’s Property Programme, which is battling a maintenance backlog of £90 million across its estate.
The plan would see the staff moving into a refurbished Oaks Resource Centre in Keighley, along with colleagues from Skipton Road Day Services in Keighley and other offices in Skipton Road, generating savings of £2m.
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