£300,000 revival for Silsden town hall

6:00am Wednesday 17th July 2013

By Chris Young

A £300,000 refurbishment of Silsden Town Hall will see it open to more people for longer hours, but will require the hall to close until October.

Bradford Council plans to build a new lift, fire escape and a ramp at the hall’s front entrance to make it more accessible for the elderly and disabled.

Once the work is complete, Silsden Library will be re-located to the hall, offering children’s reading sessions, I.T. facilities and other events during the day.

External work has already begun, with work to the inside due to start on July 29 and last until October.

A steering group of a ward councillor, local interest groups, building users and council officers meets regularly to discuss and oversee the project, which one local politician says will bring the hall into the 21st century.

Based on Kirkgate, the hall is used by several different groups within the town, and these will have to temporarily relocate during the works, which the Council says were planned for over the summer because many users hold their sessions outdoors during this period.

The hall is currently only open from the early evening, but with the refurbishment and library move the hope is more groups start booking it for daytime use.

Coun Andrew Mallinson, who sits on the steering group, said: “It’s unfortunate that it has to be closed for 13 weeks, but the finished product will be more accessible to people, and Silsden will have a better library service. It will be a building more fit for the 21st century. I hope it will encourage more use of the hall, because it will be available for a lot more potential users.

“Personally I would like to see it used for weddings again.”

Coun Andrew Thornton, Bradford Council's executive member for environment, said: “The project has received a lot of support from local groups and users of the building.

“This project will bring back to life a tired building that is part of Silsden’s heritage. It will create a community building that is busy, vibrant, accessible and an asset that the town can be proud of.”

The hall has a dining room, ballroom, kitchen and meeting room available for hire, and is currently used by dance and sports groups.

Stephanie Moore, estates manager, said: “We have been in talks with all the groups that use hall, and we’ve offered assistance for them to relocate during the closure.”

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