Town Hall development – seeking the best option and securing funding

Published on 16th July 2018

View of Imperial Gardens in the sun, with the town hall in the background

External funding will be required for the town hall redevelopment

Work on future options for Cheltenham Town Hall has been delayed due to challenges in the current funding environment for major capital projects.  External funding will be required to bring the project to life.

A number of concepts have been considered for the town’s historic venue. These include a visitor attraction, world class performance space; conference venue; and a community arts centre; and range from minimal refurbishment within the existing footprint, costing around £8m, to an option which delivers all desired requirements including an extension, costing around £30m. The resulting funding gap for each of the options ranges from approximately £7m to £20m. 

Given the amount of capital investment needed and the size of the funding challenge, the project team are now working with consultants to explore a further ‘hybrid’ option which could be developed in phases and could be easier to deliver using national and local funding.  Leading up to the commencement of the project, it will be important to ‘open up’ the town hall to new audiences in new ways to secure its future too. 

Cllr Flo Clucas, cabinet member for healthy lifestyles at Cheltenham Borough Council, says: “It is essential that we find best possible options for this iconic building and ensure that any plans are fit for purpose, financially sustainable and offer social, economic and cultural outcomes for Cheltenham.

“Despite our hard work, we have yet to identify the best solution for the town hall’s redevelopment.

“We’ll continue to look for a fundable solution which delivers the cultural ambitions of our Place Strategy where people, communities, culture and business will all thrive.”

Jaki Meekings Davis, Trustee for The Cheltenham Trust and part of the Joint Commissioning Group working in partnership with Cheltenham Borough Council, says: “As with all projects, it is not until you have more information that you can look at more detail into the nature of a project, its deliverability and the wider opportunities.  The work to date has allowed the Joint Commissioning Group to explore feasible elements of the project and phasing, we want to get this right, so there is more work to do.”


Contact: Jemima Lawson, communications officer, telephone 01242 264 332, email communications@cheltenham.gov.uk

Notes:

Following the sale of North Place and Portland street car parks, Cheltenham Borough Council committed £2.2m to the redevelopment of Cheltenham Town Hall.

A Joint Commissioning Group (JCG) comprising offers from the council and The Cheltenham Trust (TCT) commissioned Focus consultants to develop options for the town hall.

Read the briefing note on the council’s website, agenda item 16, from page 305, for more information on the town hall redevelopment project.