Council discuss seven costly options to save Newry Town Hall

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Friday, September 13th, 2013
Community, News
Newry & Mourne District Council has said that it is considering up to seven different options in an attempt to save Newry Town Hall.

Newry Town Hall is one of Newry’s most iconic buildings

The options are all pricey, ranging in cost and scope from £687,000 up to a staggering £7,000,000. On Wednesday, Newry Times exclusively revealed that the iconic Newry landmark’s future was in jeopardy unless several million pound could be found to fund repairs. While remedial works have been undertaken to the Town Hall over the past ten years they have not addressed fundamental structural problems with the building which may now have to close due to health and safety concerns. A spokesperson for Newry Council said the Council was considering options for the future development of Newry Town Hall. “Following the approval by Council of the recently completed Feasibility Study on the use of the Town Hall as an arts venue, a meeting is taking place in September to discuss seven options presented in that study. According to the Council the meeting will be attended by Councillors and Senior Officials. The spokesperson continued, “Option one: Do Nothing, has already been discounted by Councillors – the building is maintained by Council. The remaining options range in cost and scope from £687,000 up to £7,000,000.

Beautiful: Newry Town Hall during a snowy spell last year

“In the past ten years two condition reports have been carried out on the Town Hall, one of which, by Alastair Coey Architects, was completed in the last few weeks, as a follow-up to a report carried out in 2006. “Major re-roofing work was carried out in 2005/06 meaning the building then was substantially free from leaks and water penetration and there were few defects of structural significance. The updated condition report will form part of discussions at the forthcoming meeting. The Council said the objectives of the Feasibility Study carried out by KPMG were to provide a modern, accessible and fit-for-purpose arts facility suitable for different uses. Another objective was to maximise use of the building including its ancillary space through appropriate zoning for different uses. The study was also carried out to provide a modern facility to be used by amateur groups as well as attract professional groups and to enhance shared space and increased interaction of the whole community. The final objective of the Feasibility Study was to contribute to Newry’s City Centre Master Plan for the regeneration of the City. The Study, commissioned by Council and co-funded by Arts Council Northern Ireland describes a range of funding options for the proposed refurbishment of the Town Hall. The spokesperson for the Council added, “These have yet to be discussed so it is not possible to speculate at this stage where the funding may come from. The Town Hall is fully compliant with all necessary health and safety, disability, and access requirements.” More on this story: ‘Dangerous and decrepit’ Newry Town Hall in danger of closing
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