South Ribble Borough Council launches public consultation into the future of Worden Hall

14 August 2019

The Council are looking for views from the public about the future use of Worden Hall, the historic centrepiece of the multiple Green Flag Award winning Worden Park.

The consultation will run from 9am Monday 19 August to 9am Monday 9 September.

People can share their views on the future of Worden Hall by completing an online survey found at www.southribble.gov.uk/wordenhall and print copies will be available on request.

Note: the survey will not be visible until the consultation commences on Monday 19 August, 9am.

Alongside the survey, a series of consultation events will take place in Worden Hall’s Derby Wing where people can find out further information, talk with key staff and share their views.

The dates and times of the events are as follows:

  • Thursday 22 August 2-7pm
  • Thursday 29 August  2-7pm
  • Thursday 5 September 2-7pm

To accompany the information about the options for the Hall’s future use, a walk-through video of Worden Hall has been created for the public to get a rare glimpse of what the stunning building currently looks like inside. The video can be viewed at www.southribble.gov.uk/wordenhall.

Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Finance, Property and Assets said, “This is one of the most important consultations the Council will undertake.

“Worden Hall is an iconic building at the centre piece of the much loved Worden Park. The previous administration of the Council commissioned a consultant’s report to look at potential options for bringing the building back into use, but then a made the decision to take the Hall to market before the consultant’s report had been received. Most disappointingly, they took that decision without consulting with the people who matter most, our residents.”

“We think it is only right to firstly get the views from a wide a range of people as possible before we move on to taking any final decision on the potential uses of this building. We care about the future of the Hall as much as you do and we want to do this right.

“It’s important to emphasise that no decisions about Worden Hall have been made. The consultant’s report poses three viable options, and we want to know what you think of them.

“I would encourage everyone to get involved in the consultation and tell us which option you favour so that the Cabinet can take your feedback into account when it meets on 16 October 2019 to consider the public consultation feedback.”

In June 2018 the Council appointed consultants to undertake a feasibility study and options appraisal into the potential future uses of Worden Hall.

The consultant’s report reviewed a number of options for the future use of the Hall, the investment costs of each option and the on-going revenue cost to the Council.

Only three options were considered viable and they shall form the basis of the public consultation exercise.

The three viable options are for the Hall to be used for:

  1. Community Use
  2. A Small Wedding/Events Venue
  3. An Exclusive Wedding/Events Venue

A draft copy of the report was received by the Council in March 2019. However, prior to receipt of the report, in January 2019 the then administration pursued a Market Disposal initiative whereby bidders were invited to invest in or occupy Worden Hall subject to agreeing suitable terms with the Council.

A preferred bidder was selected and officers of the Council were instructed at the March 2019 Cabinet meeting to enter into discussions with the preferred bidder and report progress back to Cabinet.

Following the local elections in May 2019 a Labour administration took control of the Council. The new administration paused discussions with the preferred bidder of the market disposal exercise and at the Cabinet meeting on 19 June 2019 agreed to consult the public on options for bringing Worden Hall back into use.

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