Work continuing’ on town hall plans

PUBLISHED: 11:27 03 August 2006 | UPDATED: 14:45 12 May 2010

North Herts District Council logo

North Herts District Council logo

PLANS to develop the Royston Town Hall site are still being considered, The Crow can reveal. This is despite growing concern from town councillors that there has been a wall of silence surrounding the project. They have demanded twice in the past months t

PLANS to develop the Royston Town Hall site are still being considered, The Crow can reveal.

This is despite growing concern from town councillors that there has been a wall of silence surrounding the project.

They have demanded twice in the past months that members should be briefed on the proposed project.

But nothing has been said by North Herts District Council about the scheme.

This week, however, The Crow raised questions about the proposals and was told that "work is continuing".

More than a year ago a rough blueprint for the site was drawn up after consultants had been called in to examine the project.

The scheme looked at developing a civic centre-type building and a new health centre on the site.

There were suggestions, too, of modernising the Victorian town hall.

The town council said the project should include the transfer of the Royston Museum to the site, and the development of a multi-purpose community hall which could be converted into a theatre and cinema.

It is understood the Royston, Buntingford and Bishop's Stortford NHS Primary Care Trust has been involved in preliminary discussions along with Herts County Council.

The town council sees itself as a major player in any project as it owns the town hall and has long been keen to provide a community development on the site.

It has argued over many years that the museum needs to expand to provide proper storage and a gallery for the works of art in its collection.

A district council spokesman told The Crow: "The project has not been dropped."

But no cash has been earmarked over the next three years in the district council's budget.

The spokesman said, however: "It was envisaged that the project would be a partnership with the principal land and property owners, and as such not all would be funded from the district council.

"This, together with the fact that there is insufficient information on the final solution and the funding mix, is why no budget has been allocated in the capital programme."

The district council insisted that "without further discussion with our partners" the project will not be able to make progress.

Consultants working on the project - which has already cost the district council about £22,000 - are "geared to conduct the final phase of the consultation process".

In spite of repeated requests the town council has not been given any details about the consultation progress or proposals for the site in at least the past six months.

Members raised concerns at a meeting of the town premises sub-committee when Royston's mayor, Cllr Lynn Berry, said: "We would like some answers.

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