Report considered selling off Chesterfield Town Hall
Council chiefs will receive a report next week which seriously considered selling off Chesterfield Town Hall.
The authority even went so far as to have the building valued and looked into alternative sites to which the council could move.
However, the report recommends staying put and spending £2.74 million on a year long refurbishment that will generate an additional £240,000 a year for the authority by 2020/21.
The report will be considered by cabinet next Tuesday before being voted on by the full council on December 14.
Councillor John Burrows, leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “In common with all buildings of its age the Town Hall was constructed using asbestos containing materials.
“Knowing that there is asbestos in the building which needs properly and safely managing we did consider other options to this refurbishment plan, such as moving staff to a new building, but we have ruled them out as they are not practical alternatives.”
The report suggests that the Grade II listed building - which was valued at £1.15 million without the car park and £1.95 million with - could be converted into a hotel or apartments.
However, in the end the valuer did not recommend selling ‘at this stage’ due to the building’s condition and ‘current market conditions’.
The report, which was written by the authority’s ‘customer, commissioning and change manager’, comes against the backdrop of massive reductions in central government funding since 2010.
Councillor Ken Huckle, Chesterfield Borough Council’s cabinet member for business transformation, said: “Unless the council can find new ways of generating income cuts will inevitably impact heavily on the frontline services we provide.
“Residents would rightly expect us to look at all options to generate income and make better use of the buildings we have rather than make cuts to services or make people redundant.”
If approved, the refurbishment work will see new meeting rooms and event spaces with wi-fi and the latest audio visual equipment so they can be hired out for conferences, parties, weddings and meetings.
Building work would be carried out by the council’s own in-house Operational Service Division team, ensuring the project supports local jobs and the Chesterfield economy.