After months of negotiation Colne Town Council has now officially taken over the landmark Grade II listed Colne Town Hall. This move avoids the potential for the building being mothballed or disposed of elsewhere, following the movement of the Pendle Leisure Trust Head Office from Colne to Nelson as part of Pendle Borough Council savings initiatives. In addition to the Town Hall, to help with future viability, The Town Council have also negotiated the transfer of the Annex (the former liberal club on Newmarket Street) and 5 shop properties underneath the Annex and Town Hall.
The Town Council are currently mid-term through a project funded by the Resilient Heritage Lottery Fund. Under this project the current condition of the buildings been looked at in detail, a Conservation Management Plan has been prepared and an Options Appraisal is currently underway. Once completed, this will enable the Town Hall and its future use, to be sympathetically managed in light of its historical importance.
Future use options derived from a number of public facing meetings held already are currently being appraised, following which a report will be presented to Full Council on Tuesday 14th November. The meeting will start at 7 pm and any members of the public are more than welcome to attend. In the new year a public consultation will be held on Sunday 14th January 2pm to 5pm for anyone to drop in, have a look at the potential options for future use and comment as appropriate.
Councillor Paul Foxley, Chairman of Colne Town Council, said “ We understand just how important the Town Hall is to the people of Colne. This was recently evidenced when over 150 people took the opportunity to tour the building when we opened it up for guided tours on the 10th September as part of our Heritage Open day. Taking on this prominent building brings with it not only a substantial financial challenge, but also a responsibility in how we deal with its heritage properly and find a way to keep it maintained to an appropriate standard. Engagement with the Resilient Heritage Lottery Fund was always a key part of our plan and we hope to attract their further support to take this long- term project forward. We want the people of Colne to enjoy their wonderful Town Hall and to see it improve and become better used over the next few years. We will be looking to attract substantial external funding to deliver our ambitious aims for the building”