Concern for the future of town hall
Last updated at 19:47, Thursday, 02 August 2012
Fears over the future of Maryport Town Hall have been raised after Allerdale council confirmed it was considering switching its customer services base elsewhere.
The move has infuriated Maryport councillors who claim it goes against Allerdale council’s commitment to town centre regeneration.
Allerdale council is undertaking a consultation to move services from the town hall to Maryport Library to save money.
It also said this week that it had no plans to either sell the town hall or leave it empty.
But Carol Tindall, Maryport Town Council finance chairwoman, said: “It is not certain that the town council, which also uses the town hall, could afford to run it on its own, which means it could be left empty.
“It is appalling. We have to put everything we can into the town centre to make it sustainable.
“Maryport has one of the busiest service centres, so why is Allerdale trying to fix what isn’t broken?”
Maryport mayor Peter Kendall, an Allerdale councillor, said he was in a “somewhat awkward” position.
He said: “I have already expressed my serious concerns and my opposition to the closure of the police station and HSBC bank in Maryport because I don’t want services withdrawn.
“I don’t want the town’s most prominent buildings to stand empty.”
He shared the feelings of the town council that the Senhouse Street building was close to a bus stop and convenient for older people without private transport.
Angela Kendall, ward councillor, said: “I am horrified at the thought of another derelict building.”
She pointed out, however, that Allerdale council had contributed to the renovation of other derelict town centre buildings.
Coun Gill Elliott, recently co-opted on to the town council through her involvement in the Maryport traders’ group, said: “It is a huge mistake to even consider moving. We need to get as many community-based services into the town centre as we can if we are to survive.
“The council should be talking to the police, the Credit Union and anyone else they can think of to bring more people into the town hall, not taking them away.”
Allerdale council said no decision had yet been made but confirmed that it was looking at options for future tenancy of the town hall building.
A spokeswoman said: “The council is consulting customers, current tenants and partners regarding a proposal for the council’s customer services to move into the library.
“The responses of the consultation will be considered in due course.
“The council currently has no plans to either sell the building or leave it empty.
“We are in discussions with potential tenants in order to maximise rental income for the council in these financially challenging times.”
Survey forms are available from the town hall.
Earlier this year offices were created at Maryport Library. At the time Cumbria County Council said there were no plans to move its shared customer services from the town hall to the library.
First published at 19:22, Thursday, 02 August 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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