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Save Rawtenstall town hall!

The Victorian Society is urging Rossendale Council not to demolish Rawtenstall’s former town hall.

Photo: robert Wade Flickr Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

The Victorian Society is urging  Rossendale Council not to demolish Rawtenstall’s former town hall. It argues that the building should at least be advertised on the open market before any decision is taken. The Society intends to lodge a formal objection and congratulates the Friends of Rawtenstall on their work rising awareness of the building’s plight.

The former town hall started out as an ‘Exchange Club’ for stock traders built in ‘a striped palazzo style’. After becoming the town hall the building was extended with three exactly matching bays. The high quality local stone building plays an important part in the conservation area and gives a sense of the historic nature of Rawtenstall - where a large part of the historic stone built town centre was demolished in the 1960s for a shopping centre. The Council should learn from the mistakes of the 1960s and create plan for the conservation area which ensures that the former town hall is brought back into rather than replacing it with a bus station and new offices as is currently the case.

Victorian Society Conservation Adviser, James Hughes, said: The Council’s argument for demolishing the town hall appears to be based on the fact that no-one has approached them to take it over. This is unsurprising given that the town hall has not been advertised on the open market. The building is ideally suited to office use.  It makes no sense to pay to demolish the town hall and then build new offices instead of repairing the existing building. Not only is this a greener option it could be a cheaper one.’

The Council is expected to make a decision on the plans in June.

The current planning application can be viewed here

Monday 18 May, 2015

More recent item: King’s College London re-think on Strand demolition welcomed
Earlier item: Shipton Bellinger letter published in The Telegraph

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