Warrington Town Hall Future Mapped Out

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 2:21pm

By Aran Dhillon - Local Democracy Reporter

Council chiefs are being urged to map out a future for Warrington’s ‘inefficient’ Town Hall almost 270 years after the site was built.

The historic building will continue to be used after the new council offices open in spring 2020 as part of the £139 million Time Square development.

The move will see officers from sites including the Town Hall, New Town House and Quattro be relocated, with around 1,200 staff to be based in the new facility.

However, the authority insists the Grade I listed Town Hall – which sits behind the Grade II listed Golden Gates – will have a future.

But what lies ahead for New Town House and Quattro remains uncertain.

A council spokesman said: “Our strategy for office accommodation includes retaining ownership and occupation of the Town Hall after the new offices open.

“We will be reviewing the future of New Town House and Quattro and will consider a range of options regarding the town centre, financial viability and regeneration.

“Any proposals will be subject to planning permission and approval from the executive board.”

A demolition of New Town House and Quattro will form part of the review.

Bank Hall, which was designed by architect James Gibbs, was built in 1750 as a home for businessman Thomas Patten.

But in 1873 the owner, Colonel Wilson Patten, later Lord Winmarleigh, sold the building to the council and it became Warrington Town Hall.

Cllr Bob Barr, leader of the town’s Liberal Democrats, is calling for a firm plan to be put in place for the Town Hall and Golden Gates.

He said: “The transformation of Warrington town centre will take a major step forward when the new market, shops, restaurants, cinema and council offices open early in 2020.

“This will mark the culmination of a project planned under a Liberal Democrat administration, for which the contract was signed within days after a new Labour administration took over.

“A future must now be mapped out for the historic 18th century country house, and its iconic Golden Gates, that has served as our Town Hall but has, for a long time, not been fit for purpose and has become an expensive and inefficient luxury for council use.

“The ‘regeneration’ of Bank Park turned into no more than a minor, though expensive, facelift compared to more ambitious previous proposals and should be considered again, along with the necessary development and expansion of Bank Quay station.

“The New Town House complex has outlived its usefulness and needs to be redeveloped for residential commercial, or mixed use depending on market conditions.

“The time for the town to consider its future, have a public debate and move on is here.”

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