A £200,000 makeover of an historic town hall has been labelled a 'vanity' project by some of its users.

Allerdale council has renovated the Maryport town hall, which the council leases part of the premises to Maryport Town Council where its officers and meeting room are based.

The town council has commented that after this £200,000 spend, a damp issue has not been resolved – a problem the council had complained about for several years.

An Allerdale spokeswoman confirmed that the damp issue remained unresolved: “Discussions have taken place with the owner of the adjoining property with a view to resolving a limited damp issue.

“Unfortunately, the budget and timescales associated with the grant funding from Historic England have meant that we have been unable to resolve these damp issues without putting the whole project at risk.”

Maryport councillors were also concerned that the new layout of the ground floor has taken nearly one-third of what was the ground floor left-hand side room area.

Mayor Peter Kendall said that would make wheelchair access difficult. This has been caused by moving the front door of the building to the centre.

Despite the town council’s criticisms, Allerdale is hailing the renovated town hall as: “A landmark historic building in the heart of the town which the community can continue to be proud of for many years to come." 

It is described as a 'multi-agency community hub' in the heart of the town, where Maryport and Allerdale council staff can base themselves and meet with customers.

One of the most striking new features is an etched glass screen that features the Maryport skyline. Local artwork commissioned via Made in Maryport Cultural Consortium will be exhibited in the entrance lobby.

The building’s old male and female toilets have been turned into a unisex disabled toilet that can accommodate those with physical disabilities.

Blocked-up windows have been reinstated, the original coving and woodwork have been restored, and wood paneling replaced.

Renovation work has been carried out through Maryport’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) initiative, which is funded by Historic England, Allerdale council and Sellafield Ltd.

Councillor Mike Johnson, leader of Allerdale council, commented that the renovated building will be suitable for the disabled, saying that: “It’s brilliant to see such a vital community facility being brought back to life.

“The new accessibility features mean it is fit for purpose and the enhanced surroundings make it a far better place to be for those visiting representatives from Allerdale Borough Council, Cumbria County Council, and Maryport Town Council."

The final works to ensure the building is fully accessible to disabled visitors are now being completed, and the glass screen, which forms part of its fire protection, is due to be installed soon. An opening will be held when the building is complete.