Is rebuilding Walworth Town Hall worth £40m?

(11 February, 2016) Editorials

It is sad news to hear this week that the town hall’s skeleton sustained more damage than at first thought

4520The aftermath of the Walworth Town Hall blaze in 2013

When a fire devastated one of our most treasured historical buildings in 2013, we all wanted it to be restored back to its former glory. Southwark Council got out the cheque book and pledged to put money aside for work that would not only repair the Grade II listed building, but would reinvent it as a new civic facility.

It is sad news to hear this week that the town hall’s skeleton sustained more damage than at first thought, with dry rot escalating costs from £20million to nearly £40million.

As the council is in the process of cutting frontline services to balance the books, Council Leader Peter John is asking if we want to spend that kind of money preserving one of the borough’s historic gems.

The grandeur of the devastated shell is still visible through the peeling plaster and crumbling wooden beams. But Cllr John rightly asks, ‘at what cost’ do we prioritise our heritage?

Now is the time to have your say. You can complete a quick online survey at www.southwarknews.co.uk or check the paper next week for details of the council’s own consultation.