Lottery bid may see £5m town hall outlay

UP to £5m could be spent on restoring Todmorden Town Hall if a bid for Heritage Lottery money is successful.

Calderdale Council is eager to see the Grade 1 listed building's outstanding heritage preserved and a development group chaired by Coun Olwen Jennings, (Lib Dem, Todmorden), has been working on a plan since 2008.

A report by Robin Tuddenham, director of safer and stronger communities, says a feasibility report suggests the following improvements – the installation of three new lifts, transformation of the caretaker's flat into a room for civic ceremonies, full repairs to external stone work and internal repairs.

Mr Tuddenham says: ''A new mayor's parlour will be created above the formal staircase, affording spectacular views across the town. The oval-shaped room will also be available for marriage ceremonies and other formal gatherings.

''All the current community use will be supported including dancing, choral/orchestral concerts and exhibitions for example.

''The major apartments of the hall are not normally available for viewing without special arrangement so visitors have very limited opportunity to access the town's principal architectural attraction.

''Educational visits are similarly constrained and there is a lost opportunity for schoolchildren to learn about the rich and abundant heritage of the town. The proposal will redress this by providing much greater representation of this heritage through standing and temporary exhibitions...''

Mr Tuddenham added that last year the cabinet allocated 400,000 as match funding and this has opened the way to a Heritage Lottery Fund bid. The eventual overall project bid cost is likely to exceed 5m.''

It is hoped that a first stage bid would be submitted next month. Money from the Lottery would be levered in at a rate of 9 for every 1 council contribution. A scrutiny panel will discuss the report on January 20.