South Ribble Council will make a decision on the future of the grade two-listed hall at the heart of Worden Park following an extended public consultation, having scrapped previous plans for the building in May this year.
A preferred bidder had been chosen to bring forward a regeneration of the hall in March 2019, but this deal was scrapped following May’s local elections, when a Labour administration took control of the council.
Options that were explored following an initial feasibility study in 2018 were for community use; as a small wedding or events venue; or as an exclusive wedding and events venue. The council’s previous administration had pursued a sale in January 2019, before the full viability report was submitted.
After taking over the council in May, the Labour administration paused discussions with the referred bidder, and launched a round of public consultation to gauge views on the future of the hall.
This consultation has now been extended, with the public invited to share their views on whether the hall should be used for community use or as an events venue. The consultation has been extended to run until Monday 16 September.
Cllr Matthew Tomlinson, South Ribble Council’s cabinet member for finance, property and assets said, “This is one of the most important consultations the Council will undertake.
“Worden Hall is an iconic building at the centre piece of the much-loved Worden Park. The previous administration of the Council commissioned a consultant’s report to look at potential options for bringing the building back into use, but then a made the decision to take the Hall to market before the consultant’s report had been received. Most disappointingly, they took that decision without consulting with the people who matter most, our residents.”
“We think it is only right to firstly get the views from a wide a range of people as possible before we move on to taking any final decision on the potential uses of this building. We care about the future of the Hall as much as you do and we want to do this right.
“It’s important to emphasise that no decisions about Worden Hall have been made. The consultant’s report poses three viable options, and we want to know what you think of them.
“I would encourage everyone to get involved in the consultation and tell us which option you favour so that the Cabinet can take your feedback into account when it meets on 16 October 2019 to consider the public consultation feedback.”