Ossett Town Hall: Cost of work to restore roof and clocktower at Grade II-listed Yorkshire town hall more than doubles

Plans have been approved to allow delayed renovation work to continue at Ossett Town Hall.

The cost of the major revamp of the Grade II-listed building is understood to have more than doubled to £3m. Work to restore the roof, clock tower and stonework and the relocation of the town’s library from the ground floor to the first floor was due to be completed by the end of 2023. But the building is still surrounded by scaffolding and work is not expected to be completed until next summer.

Wakefield Council has already apologised for the “unexpected delays”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A new listed building consent application identifies a number of defects discovered during the work, including rot in the clock tower timbers. The application, which was approved this week, also includes carrying out re-pointing and remedial works to stained glass windows. The council’s conversation officer raised no objection to the proposals.

A refurbishment of Ossett Town Hall is not expected to be completed until summer 2024.A refurbishment of Ossett Town Hall is not expected to be completed until summer 2024.
A refurbishment of Ossett Town Hall is not expected to be completed until summer 2024.

The report adds: “The proposed works have been carefully considered to be sensitive to the Grade II listed building.”

Built in 1908, Ossett Town Hall served as a civic centre, magistrates’ court and offices for Ossett Borough Council until 1974, when Ossett became part of Wakefield Council.

In October, Tony Homewood, independent councillor for Ossett, criticised the council over the delays. He told a meeting he had found out about the extent of the work required during a tour of the building.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Coun Homewood said: “We went all the way up to the town hall clock, which is rotten to pieces and having to be all replaced. What came to light on this visit was that, somewhere along the line, somebody decided to carry out a survey on a building that’s over 100 years old, with a drone. Quite clearly, you can’t carry out a proper survey on a building of that nature with a drone.”

Mr Homewood said he had been told by the contractor that they had been asked to give a quote for the work based on the drone footage. He asked why the person responsible had not been asked for an explanation.

“We have now got a budget that went from £1.2m, I believe, and it is almost approaching £3m,” he added.

In response, Councillor Les Shaw, cabinet member for property and resource, said the authority needed to “look at how we do things better in the future”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Natalie Palmer, the council’s interim service director for property, previously said: “We share everyone’s frustration that the refurbishment of Ossett Town Hall is taking longer than expected and apologise for the disruption caused.

“Any additional work we have discovered during the refurbishment has had to follow the strict guidance that applies to such old buildings, and this has led to unexpected delays. The preservation of Ossett Town Hall is really important to us, and the people of the town, and we are working hard to complete the work as soon as possible.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.