ULVERSTON town councillors have accused South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) of ‘forcing’ them out of the town hall they have used for 120 years.
SLDC has made it clear that it could no longer go on funding both Ulverston Town Hall and the Coronation Hall and told the local councillors to choose between the two.
The authority said ‘The Coro’, which is the focal point of Ulverston’s social scene, cost £1,000 a day to run.
One option now being considered is to sell the town hall off for affordable housing.
Ulverston councillors say they were presented with a choice: lose the town hall, which has been in use since 1894, or lose the Coro.
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Town councillors voted in favour of surrendering their user rights to the town hall, but believe they were placed in an ‘impossible position’.
Phil Lister, a Labour town councillor, said: “I have got a gun held to my head and the trigger is cocked.
“If we don’t leave the town hall SLDC will close the Coronation Hall which is one of the finest and well used public buildings.
“It costs them £1,000 a day to misrun it. SLDC is a Liberal Democrat stronghold and there’s no Liberal Democrats here. They can pick away at Ulverston as long as they keep Kendal looking nice and pretty – those people are barbarians.”
Coun Pat Jones said: “It is absolutely one of the saddest days in politics. We are being blackmailed.
“If we stay in the town hall we are responsible for losing the Coro – it’s shocking.”
The district council are considering turning the town hall into affordable homes, much to the despair of Coun Jones.
“We all love and respect the iconic town hall,” she said.
“We are losing heritage and history and we are going to leave stainless steel and plastic for our children.”
Richard Machin, communications officer for SLDC said: “We can’t continue to keep funding both buildings.
“We are looking at all options. One of the decisions we ended up with was for the town council to move into the Coronation Hall because that would open up options with what we could do with the town hall.
“The future of the town hall is very much up for discussion and we are keen to state that nothing has been decided yet.
“One option is to convert it into affordable homes because that’s a key council priority.”