Concern over plans to convert Ulverston Town Hall into flats

Ulverston Town Council is to move into the Coronation Hall (above)

Ulverston Town Council is to move into the Coronation Hall (above)

First published in News The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Groups based in Ulverston’s town hall are concerned about plans to convert the building into flats.

The cabinet of South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) unani-mously agreed the scheme for affordable housing at a meeting in the town.

It means the town council will move into the Coronation Hall But a number of groups based in an annexe of the town hall are worried about where they will be based – and a ‘lack of consultation’.

South Lakes Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB) operates out of the annexe, as does Ulverston MIND and Age Concern.

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Linda Middlehurst of Age Concern said SLDC had not fully assessed the ‘negative impact’ of the proposal.

She told the cabinet that the council should find alternative premises which were ‘affordable, accessible and compensatory’.

SLDC said the switch would help towards securing the future of the hall, which faces a funding cut next April.

At the packed meeting, people spoke passionately about protecting Ulverston’s civic estate.

But SLDC leader Coun Peter Thornton said that the council spent £238,000 on Kendal Town Hall and the Brewery Arts Centre, compared to £245,000 in Ulverston.

“You can see we are spending a significant amount of money in Ulverston for a town a third of the size of Kendal,” he said.

But tearoom owner Douglas Gillam warned that putting council services and a venue together was incompatible.

“If you think you can have a rock group doing a soundcheck in the same building as a council doing office work, it’s not really going to work out,” he said.

Coun Jonathan Brook, for the Lib Dems, told the meeting: “We need to control our budgets and provide best value for the money we administer across the whole of the district.

“We are committed to working towards the best solution.”

Coun James Airey, for the Tories, added: “I’m concerned about MIND, Age Concern and the CAB being run out of the Town Hall. There’s been a deliberate running down of the Coronation Hall in the past and I think it’s shocking.”

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