True cost of Ashton Town Hall renovation revealed

THE COST of bringing Ashton-under-Lyne’s Town Hall fully back into use could reach £23 million.

Part of £20 million received from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund will see the building, which has been closed for nine years, renovated and made safe.

Exact costs and schedules for the external work on what is known as the building’s envelope have been revealed, with it set to begin on April 15.

Ashton Town Hall

The overall roofing replacement has now been paused, it will recommence in May on the repairs to the parapet and stonework and it is hoped everything will be completed by December 20.

But documents for the meeting of Tameside Council’s executive cabinet held on Wednesday, March 27, revealed a far higher estimate to bring the building fully into use – and the prospect of two floors being ‘mothballed.’

A report states: “The intrusive survey work completed to date has identified that scheme costs are now considerably in excess of the original £3.4 million estimates.

“The cost of the repair of the whole roof, high level stone parapet and façade works for the whole building is now estimated to be circa £8 million.

“The internal restoration of Ashton Town Hall, which would be necessary to enable the building to be capable of occupation, would be a significant refurbishment estimated to require an additional budget in excess of £15 million at present day prices to complete in full.”

The eye watering new figures are revealed under phase two of the project.

The report adds: “It is noted that due to the significant cost implications and access issues associated with bringing the lower ground floor and the second floor back into full use, it is likely that both of these areas would need to be mothballed under any internal restoration scheme.

“There are a number of reasons as to why the costs have increased so considerably from the previous high level cost plans.

“In the context of the significant increases in the cost plan for the envelope restoration works at the Town Hall and the potential consideration of alternative approaches to the building, it is recommended that the roof replacement work (with the exception of any temporary measures to reduce water ingress) is paused at this stage with a focus on progressing works to repair the parapet and the facade restoration for the south and east elevations.

“This approach will provide the scope for a long-term phased approach to the building that will enable the removal of some of the existing hoarding and fencing once the parapet and façade restoration is complete.

“There would then be a pause in works whilst further external grant funding (which is currently unidentified) is secured to deliver future phases. “

Detailed rundowns reveal more than £133,000 has been spent on consultants while the near £2.4 million which will be received by Robertson includes just over £100,000 of what is described as ‘overheads and profit.’

The design and build contract is with infrastructure partner Inspired Spaces Tameside Limited, of whom council chief executive Sandra Stewart is listed as a director, with a value of £2,802,910 including the LEP (local enterprise partnership) fee.

The report also states how it may be used for different purposes.

It says: “The long-term viable future of Ashton Town Hall is an important component in the wider plans for Ashton Town Centre, which recognise the important role of the Town Hall façade in framing the Market Square.

“Whilst the heritage importance of the building lies in its classical façade it is noted that there are significant challenges associated with securing a long-term sustainable use for the building interior.

“The development of more detailed proposals for the Town Hall needs to take place in this context and be consistent with the council’s approach to the regeneration of Ashton Town Centre and wider Strategic Asset Management Plan.

“The roof is in very poor condition. Water leaks are repaired when they become apparent but damage to ceilings and floor coverings has occurred.

“The roof has been compromised through multiple mechanical and engineering penetrations which have taken place over many years.

“The building requires a new mechanical and electrical system, so the intention is to remove the existing installation and repair the roof where it has been compromised.”

The report also reveals demolishing the old council headquarters, known as TAC, damaged Grade II listed Ashton Town Hall, which opened in 1840.

It adds: “The Town Hall was closed in order to facilitate its physical disconnection from TAC as part of the demolition and site clearance of TAC.

“The disconnection resulted in significant damage and scarring to the Town Hall’s rear elevations, including the need for stabilisation and remediation works.

“The rear elevations have multiple door and mechanical and engineering penetrations which require significant repair and restoration.”

But Tameside Council is adamant the town Hall will form an important part of future life, saying: “The council has identified Ashton town centre as one of its growth priorities, supporting delivery of the Tameside Inclusive Growth Strategy 2021-26 in making our town centres hubs for living, culture, employment and services supporting a sustainable retail sector.

“The Grade II listed Ashton Town Hall was the traditional home of municipal life in Ashton since its opening in 1840 and extension in 1878.

“Its heritage, importance and significance lie in its classical façade framing the historic setting of the Market Square.”

8 Replies to “True cost of Ashton Town Hall renovation revealed”

  1. Demolish it then for a fraction of the cost. Shameside Council can easily get the listed building status removed like they did with the older and more unique Stalybridge Town Hall after they allowed it to fall into the same sort of disrepair. It’s about time they considered the residents of the whole borough, not just what they believe to be its only town, Ashton, and stop wasting money.

  2. If you had kept up with the work instead of twinning and getting rid if the old market stall to put up poor excuses of stalls selling roundabouts taking all the character out of the area then you would have ample money to do the work needed plus the market has a charter on it since 1200 so why are you planning rubbish on the space it should be kept as it was

  3. The Tory moaners as ever are demonstrating that they know the price of everything & the value of nothing.

  4. I spent my whole childhood in that building helping my mum who worked there. People would turn in their graves knowing how the council have let this happen. They ruined the market so pull your fingers out and get this sorted.

  5. At least make it water tight. Fix the roof fully first and foremost, then sort the rest of the works as and when! Again another beautiful building left to rot thru bad management and planning.

  6. Seems an awful lot of money to spend on Ashton again!! They seem to forget the other Boroughs. Very good at ruining our little Borough putting up more and more houses ( more Council tax to pay for and spend improving Ashton). Ashton is not central to our minds at all

  7. The removal of the recently built council offices attached to the back of the Town Hall damaged the building and when the developer Carillion went broke their money to repair it was lost too, since the 1980’s this had become the home of The Manchester Regiment Museum which is an extensive collection, particularly of medals. This brought many military visitors, but they must remember that The Cheshire Regiment and The Duke of Wellington’s are within the Borough, although the museum’s for these are at Chester and Halifax. This brought people to the Borough and I presume one of the reason’s why the Tram extension was envisaged for future use, though not mntioned in the report, if it was to incorporate the The Mancheter Regiment Resource Centre, Museum perhaps the MoD would contribut, after all 15,000 men from Manchester Area, 4,000 of which came from the borough should be memorialised.
    There should be 9 rooms, 1 for each Towns, some of which have been decimated, ripping out the Town Halls, there Markets and creating fundraising Car Parks which keep people out of the towns and shops, and a 3rd Bus Station is ludicrous, all the funds from that, the Tram Terminus and Roundabout changes would have paid for the repairs, and by the way, the Trams have not brought people to the town the use it to leave.
    Whatever you do has to be inclusive, all the boroughs need to be engaged in its restoration and, although the Council Offices have lots of people who live outside the borough and therefore, are not and probably do not consider local considerations when making arbitrary decisions (Probably why the clearance of of some beautiful buildings has occorred)

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