Town hall extension plans on hold for more talks

Date: Friday 12th January 2018
Penrith Town Hall is no longer fit for purpose, says Eden Council’s chief executive
Penrith Town Hall is no longer fit for purpose, says Eden Council’s chief executive

A MOVE to borrow £2.2 million to help make Penrith Town Hall “fit for purpose” and create a single site for Eden Council has been halted by councillors to allow wider cross-party discussions about the project.

Speaking at a meeting of the full council last night, chief executive Robin Hooper outlined a vision which involves the building of an extension at the town hall to be paid for by a loan from the Public Works Loan Board that would be added to the 2018-19 capital program.

The money would be paid back over a period of 50 years with the cost of the loan being more than covered by anticipated financial savings from having a single site and the income generated from new uses of Mansion House, including housing and business growth opportunities.

Resources portfolio holder Paula Breen (Con, Penrith Carleton) said that while she supported the proposals in principle, a more detailed report should be put before councillors and a working group formed to monitor progress.

Speaking today, Ms Breen said: “In the council chamber last night there was a lot of support for the single site project. Members recognise the need for more accessible and fit for purpose accommodation from which our staff can deliver quality public services.

“However, councillors do not wish to rush this decision and before we commit to spending any council tax payers’ money, we require more detailed information on the proposals contained in the report by the council’s chief executive.

“A cross-party working group of councillors will now be established to look at the accommodation needs and bring this report back before full council for determination within two months.”

Full story in Saturday's paper