Site: Hebden Bridge Town Hall
Type: Civic Building
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 on a 40-year lease (now extended to 125 years), along with funds for basic maintenance work. Substantial volunteer time is now being put into renovation works and fundraising to secure the building’s future, including business and community facilities.
Following 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.
Since 2008, plans have been in development to provide an entrance foyer for the Town Hall and to create business and community facilities in a new-build development at the rear. Proposals include creation of a public courtyard beside the river.
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 a detailed feasibility study has been met with the help of a £15,000 grant from The Adventure Capital Fund and an additional loan from the Calderdale Business Trust. More recent awards of £75,000 from the Community Builders Fund and £10,000 from the ERDF Access Fund have helped progress the project.