Huntingdon Town Hall set for revamp under council’s new plan

Huntingdon Town Hall

Huntingdon Town Hall - Credit: Archant

A £100,000 lottery bid is set to be launched by Huntingdon Town Council in a bid to make the historic Town Hall more user-friendly and attractive to visitors.

The council is in the process of drawing up a feasibility study for the project at the Grade II* listed building but is expected to make the bid next year.

Town clerk Philip Peacock said:”It is all about adapting the building so that as many people as possible can use it.”

The council has already launched a planning application to carry out separate alterations to the Town Hall which would improve access to the two former court rooms on the ground floor of the building, which dates back to 1745.

The town council, which has its offices in the Town Hall, took over responsibility for the whole building five years ago and immediately carried out major repairs.

Mr Peacock said: “It is a unique building that we have to take care of.

“It is like the Forth Bridge, it always needs work doing to it.”

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He said the current scheme would make the inside of the courtrooms meet disability regulations and widen their use.

The work involves trimming one of the built-in benches and the base its stands on to allow wheelchair access in Court 1, returning the door to Court 2 to its original state which would also make it easier for people to get in.

The scheme includes installing a seal to the top of the columns on each side of the main door to stop water peneetration and a new door to the balcony. A projector and screen would also be moved in to the council chamber.

Court 2 is intended for use as a tourist information point and as a centre for the Civic Society.

The fittings in the Town Hall are affected by the building’s listed status and the town council has to apply for listed building consent to carry out the alterations.

Mr Peacock said the changes would be minor and would be hard to spot, although a bench in Court One would lose a seat space.

He said Court 2 had been used as a youth court which required extra doors for privacy and the entrance would now be returned to its original status.

Mr Peacock said the council was planning to do more work on the Town Hall to bring it into wider public use and was looking to make the Heritage Lottery Fund bid to fund a five-year programme.