Wednesday, May 9, 2018

News: What next for Wath Town Hall?

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Interested parties have until the end of the week to submit a bid regarding the future of the former Wath Town Hall in Rotherham.

The Town Hall has been a Council owned property for over 100 years, firstly as the Town Hall for Wath Urban District Council and latterly as a branch office for Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council. In 2015, Rotherham Council declared that the hall was suplus to requirements and its future became uncertain.

A social enterprise called Wath Hall Ltd. was set up to save Wath Town Hall for community use and took on the task of renovating and redecorating the ground floor as it looked to establish a number of uses for the building - a heritage centre, community education hub, cafe and small business centre.

The enterprise was shocked to discover that the Council began an exercise earlier this year to gather expressions of interest for "the possible freehold disposal, commercial lease or asset transfer lease of Wath Town Hall."

The building on Church Street was originally built in 1770 and occupies the site of a fourteenth century manor house. It is grade II listed and the chairty worked to ensure that it was a recognised as an asset of community value.

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The site extends to approximately 1.65 acres and the council is offering the freehold with vacant possession. The documents state that the site sits within a conservation area and is currently allocated for use as community facilities.

The property is being offered as being suitable for a number of uses — subject to planning and is listed on property portal, Rightmove as a "residential development for sale."

A statement from Wath Hall Ltd, said: "We fully understand the public outrage at Rotherham Borough Council's decision to offer for sale the premises and adjoining land now referred to as Wath Hall (formerly Wath Town hall).

"Since 2015 the board of Wath Hall Ltd have been seeking from RMBC a long term lease at a peppercorn rent. We initially received a 12 month lease on 9th December 2015 which was not renewed and it was replaced with a restricted operating licence.

"Viable proposals for the use of the Hall have been presented to RMBC as "A case for community partnership between Wath Hall Limited and RMBC."

"The financial support from the council has been £300 from the community fund. The board have been very disappointed by the lack of real support from the council, its officers and elected members."

Wath Hall Ltd website

Images: RMBC

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