Brentwood town hall looks set to provide ‘exciting hub for the economy’
PUBLISHED: 10:12 20 July 2012 | UPDATED: 10:12 20 July 2012
»Councillors have agreed to give the town hall a multi-million pound makeover and lease part of it to the private sector.
They also agreed to part model the town hall for council and community use at Wednesday night’s full council meeting. Option C2 was the preferred choice of five options put forward.
Four options, except the fifth which was to do nothing, included refurbishment.
The council proposes to borrow £3.6million for work on the infrastructure, roof and heating system.
Project manager Russell Eacott said investors had yet to be invited to lease out the space for offices, but after the plans were agreed they will speak to key businesses about the space and paying for part of the refurbishment.
A year ago the administration put forward plans to convert the hall into flats while the council moved to another building, but these proposals were rejected.
Lib Dem group leader Cllr David Kendall (Pilgrims Hatch) said: “The council needs to go out into the market place and see what interest there is.
“I think it will provide a really exciting hub for the local economy. It really can give a boost for Brentwood.”
But Cllr Chris Hossack (Con, Hutton East) said: “I don’t think the project is viable. I believe it is a high financial risk. It is a massive decision and everyone has just flown along with it.”
Cllr Louise McKinlay (Con, Hutton North) said: “C2 is clearly the best option and is the least risk to the council. The next phase is about delivery and if we can get the private sector make this a reality.”
Cllr Kendall put forward an additional recommendation for the leader of the council Cllr McKinlay to be present at meetings when the council speaks to potential investors.
Members agreed with the recommendation that the leader or deputy should be present at meetings.