The fire-damaged Walworth Town Hall’s future is in residents’ hands after a public consultation on what to do with the building opened on Monday.
The Grade II listed hall, which dates back to 1865, was gutted by a fire in 2013. The council first pledged to restore the building and make it a library and community hub.
But the News exclusively revealed last week that renovation costs have been calculated at £36m – £16m more than the council can afford – as well as £4m on maintenance costs to weather-proof its shell.
Southwark Council leader Peter John said: “As we look to the future and the mounting pressures on our shrinking budgets, it has become more important than ever to ensure we are getting value for money.”
Three main options include:
- Finding an alternative building in Elephant and Castle for the library and community services, and find a partner who will lease the hall and restore it.
- Work with English Heritage on a solution that uses the buildings’ facades. This would be cheaper and allows the council to run the library and other facilities, but would sacrifices some historic features.
- If the public feels committed to rebuilding the original structure, the project will have to be paused until the council can find the enough money, while still having to pay maintenance costs.
Visit www.southwark.gov.uk/wth to have your say on the hall’s future.