Glossop people are to have their say on major plans to revitalise a landmark building.
The pledge was made this week by High Peak Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council, which are to join forces to breathe new life into the Town Hall following decades of under investment.
The ambitious project proposes:
- Opening discussions with the County Council to see if the library can be accommodated within the Town Hall complex
- Installing a lift to bring the Town Hall in line with the Disability Discrimination Act and make the first floor available for some form of community use
- Refurbishing the Market Hall.
The exciting prospect of a new lease of life for an iconic town centre building is more good news for Glossop, following last December’s announcement that a £7m retail and leisure project to transform the Howard Town Mill site was back on track.
The County Council has earmarked £2m towards the potential library relocation while the Heritage Lottery Fund has committed £615,000 through the Glossopdale Townscape Heritage Initiative programme.
Substantial funding from the Borough Council from the sale of surplus assets including its Chinley site will increase the total investment package to a hefty £4.5m.
Borough Council Leader Tony Ashton said: “The development of these proposals is a major step forward in meeting the aspirations of townspeople who told us they wanted to see viable community uses for the town centre’s landmark public buildings. This message came across loud and clear during our recent Design and Place-Making workshops.
“The project will complement £2.6m of works to preserve and enhance historic commercial buildings in the town centre through the Glossopdale Townscape Heritage Initiative funded partly by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Derbyshire County Council.
“Although it’s too soon to be talking about precise timescales, I can say that the two councils are totally committed to exploring options to revitalise the Town Hall.
“The improvements will look to end years of under investment in the Town Hall and will give Glossop the town centre community space it so desperately needs”, he explained.
Tony Kemp, the Borough’s Executive Councillor for Regeneration, added: “It’s been frustrating that it has proved so difficult to bring forward a scheme to bring back the Town Hall and associated buildings into active and vibrant use by the community.
“We’ve had two attempts over the past four years to draw in external funding and been thwarted on each occasion, despite the quality of the bids. There are just so many schemes chasing limited cash while, as a small borough, we couldn’t hope to finance a full repair and restoration on our own.
“So I’m really appreciative of our County colleagues’ promised help and support in moving this challenging – but very important – project forward. Our recent Design and Place-Making workshops reinforced just how important a solution is to the local community, and we’ll be carrying out further major public consultation on the detail of the proposals after the council elections on Thursday, May 5. We want to ensure we take full account of people’s aspirations for the town centre’s iconic public buildings as we finalise the plans”.
The transformation of the Howard Town Mill site was thrown into doubt in 2009 when previous developer B & R Developments went into administration. But new developers Peveril Securities and Real Estate Development Partnerships have pledged to have a new-look site up and running by September or October.
Pub chain Wetherspoons has signed up for 7,000 sq. ft. of space while Travelodge proposes to take space in the mill itself for a 62-room hotel. Other high street names will be revealed in the near future. The project will also include a landscaped, 140-space car park on adjoining land owned by the Borough Council.