Town Hall Renovation Project

 

How the renovation project started …

 

Tucked away at the back of Helmsley Town Hall is the old ‘caretaker’s flat’.

Once upon a time there was indeed a caretaker living here, but no-one has lived in the two-storey accommodation for many years. There are five rooms, some of which are currently used for storage, plus a small kitchen and bathroom. However, as these pictures show, much of the old caretaker’s flat has fallen into a state of dereliction.

In 2016, the Trustees agreed to explore options for bringing this wasted space back into useful operation. It would also be an opportunity to review the structure and function of the entire Town Hall. Because it is an iconic, listed building in the heart of Helmsley, renovation would have to be undertaken sensitively. Its position inside both the National Park and the town’s conservation area would inevitably present challenges.

The first step would need to be to obtain high quality plans and in-depth surveys. They would give an accurate picture of the building’s structure and state of repair. That, in turn, would form the basis for a feasibility study, to give the Trustees an understanding of what options were realistically possible. Only then could the Trustees progress to a plan of action for the renovation work.

 

Gaining funding for the first steps …

 

In September 2016, the Trustees sought funding for half the cost of a feasibility study by applying for £6,500 of ‘Section 106’ money. (Property developers have to pay Section 106 money as a condition of their planning application. In this case, the money would be paid by the developers building new houses behind the Black Swan in Helmsley.)

There was a consultation process for all those community groups who had applied for a share of the Section 106 money, and that process included an exhibition of all the bids which took place in the Town Hall Meeting Room in October 2016.

 

The Trustees produced this display explaining why the money was needed and how it would be spent.

 

The right hand side of the display included our Business Plan and other information about our Finances.

 

The most important aim was to provide a greatly improved community facility, in line with our charitable objectives. At the same time, the Trustees also wanted to show that the money would be spent wisely. The display shows how the renovation project fits within an overall plan to improve the Town Hall’s financial resilience.

 

 

However, people were probably most interested in this part. It gives some ideas of how the renovation project could transform derelict parts of the building.

 

Many people left supportive pieces of written feedback in the course of the consultation exhibition.

 

We were glad to have evidence that local people were keen to see the Town Hall upgraded and improved.

 

 

The NY Moors National Park had to decide how to allocate the Section 106 money. Fortunately, they decided to award the Town Hall most of the amount that the Trustees had applied for. As a result, work on the feasibility study could begin.

 

 

The feasibility study / building analysis report

 

Architects Molior Green were commissioned to carry out the study, led by Director Paul Smith, who lives close to Helmsley.

 

Surveys have been carried out to look at the structure, condition and asbestos status of the building. Detailed plans have also been completed. All of this information was used in preparing the feasibility study / building analysis report. To see a pdf of the full report, click here.