In June 2018 the Council appointed consultants to undertake a feasibility study and options appraisal into the potential future uses of Worden Hall.
The consultant’s report reviewed a number of options for the future use of the Hall, the investment costs of each option and the on-going revenue cost to the Council.
Only three options were considered viable and they shall form the basis of the public consultation exercise.
The three viable options are for the Hall to be used for:
1. Community Use
2. A Small Wedding/Events Venue
3. An Exclusive Wedding/Events Venue
A draft copy of the report was received by the Council in March 2019. However, prior to receipt of the report, in January 2019 the then administration pursued a Market Disposal initiative whereby bidders were invited to invest in or occupy Worden Hall subject to agreeing suitable terms with the Council.
A preferred bidder was selected and officers of the Council were instructed at the March 2019 Cabinet meeting to enter into discussions with the preferred bidder and report progress back to Cabinet.
Following the local elections in May 2019 a Labour administration took control of the Council. The new administration paused discussions with the preferred bidder of the market disposal exercise and at the Cabinet meeting on 19 June 2019 agreed to consult the public on options for bringing Worden Hall back into use.
Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Finance, Property and Assets said, “This is one of the most important consultations the Council will undertake.
“Worden Hall is an iconic building at the centre piece of the much loved Worden Park. The previous administration of the Council commissioned a consultant’s report to look at potential options for bringing the building back into use, but then a made the decision to take the Hall to market before the consultant’s report had been received. Most disappointingly, they took that decision without consulting with the people who matter most, our residents.”
“We think it is only right to firstly get the views from a wide a range of people as possible before we move on to taking any final decision on the potential uses of this building. We care about the future of the Hall as much as you do and we want to do this right.
“It’s important to emphasise that no decisions about Worden Hall have been made. The consultant’s report poses three viable options, and we want to know what you think of them.
“I would encourage everyone to get involved in the consultation and tell us which option you favour so that the Cabinet can take your feedback into account when it meets on 16 October 2019 to consider the public consultation feedback.”
In a social media statement released on Tuesday (13th July) said:
You may have seen some activity over the last couple of days around Worden Hall.
We’re edging closer to the start of works and in readiness, The Folly Coffee House & Deli has moved to its temporary location in the courtyard.
Already it’s been welcoming visitors to its indoor and outdoor seating area – why not go along for a coffee and some cake?
Hoarding is in the process of being erected around the area of the hall to ensure safety surrounding the works. Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to walk around the area, visit the businesses and cafe, and we’re hoping to keep disruption to a minimum.
We’ll share more updates about the works as they progress. In the meantime, take a first look at what we can expect from the new Worden Hall!