Hebden Bridge Town Hall
Type: Town Hall
Location: Hebden Bridge (West Yorkshire)
Owner: Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council
Lessee: Hebden Bridge Community Association
Following a feasibility study and business plan, this town hall was transferred from Calderdale Council to Hebden Bridge Community Association (HBCA) on a 40-year lease (later extended to 125 years), along with funds for basic maintenance work. Calderdale Council agreed to continue as the core tenant to provide a regular source of income to HBCA. Due to volunteer efforts, HBCA raised substantial funds to build a new-build development on vacant land adjacent to the Victorian town hall. Opening in 2012, it provided modern facilities for the use of local businesses and the community.
After local government reorganisation in 1974, many of the services based in the Town Hall began to relocate elsewhere, resulting in the premises becoming underused and at risk of neglect. A strategy for the town's future, commissioned in 2003 by Yorkshire Forward, identified the Town Hall as a primary resource and a key element in the town centre. The local community was engaged in extensive consultations and in 2006 a working party was established to explore ways of intensifying use of the building.
Established in 2008 as a registered charity and not-for-profit company, Hebden Bridge Community Association Ltd became a special purpose vehicle for the potential transfer of the building from the Council. In April 2010, following the funding of a detailed feasibility study and business plan, the Council were finally able to transfer the building to the community group on a 40-year peppercorn lease, which also came with funds for basic maintenance work. In November 2010, the Council agreed to extend the lease of the property to 125 years.
In 2012, the HBCA completed a £3,700,000 new-build development to provide modern facilities, including event venues and a public courtyard, for community groups and businesses. The Town Hall is currently financially independent and generates its income through trading. In October 2014, it was occupied by 27 business tenants.
The HBCA is now concentrating efforts on raising funds to restore and refurbish the Victorian Town Hall, including its council chamber and offices. After a survey of the building to identify the scope and projected cost of the restoration, the HBCA plans to submit a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund and launch a community fundraising campaign.
Funding for the project has come from a variety of sources and the contribution of large amounts of volunteer time and expertise has been an essential element. Approximately £22,000 of funding came from direct donations, local charities and the Community Foundation for Calderdale. This helped cover the short-term costs of maximising use of the existing buildings and also for furnishing the Town Hall.
The cost of the detailed feasibility study was met with the help of a £15,000 grant from The Adventure Capital Fund and an additional loan from the Calderdale Business Trust. Awards of £75,000 from the Community Builders Fund and £10,000 from the ERDF Access Fund helped to progress the project. The cost of the new-build development was supported by grants of £1,250,000 from the ERDF and £750,000 from the Community Builders Fund, along with an additional loan of £1,500,000 from the Community Builders Fund.