Kendal Town Hall, Westmorland and Furness Council, p Westmorland and Furness Council

Kendal Town Hall and South Lakeland House will become the new home of those working at County Hall. Credit: via Westmorland and Furness Council

Westmorland and Furness to close County Hall office

Facing a £7.4m price tag to make the historic building fit for purpose, the council has opted instead to centralise its operations in Kendal into South Lakeland House.

County Hall is a grade two-listed structure that holds Westmorland & Furness Council’s archives services as well as offices for approximately 50 staff members. The building is not set to close its doors as an office on 30 September, according to a cabinet decision made by the council last night.

Most of those 50 County Hall staff members will relocate to the nearby South Lakeland House and Kendal Town Hall complex, which underwent a £5m refurbishment in 2022.

The archive will continue to be stored at County Hall in the meantime.

Recent tests at County Hall revealed that the electrical system needed rewiring. Heating systems also needed replacing. Conducting this work in a listed building brings on its own costs – which ultimately were estimated to be £7.4m. That figure does not include the £3.5m it would take to get the building to the council’s net zero goals.

“The building has potentially now passed a key point where all indicators point to a building that is physically, functionally, environmentally and economically obsolete,” the council wrote in a cabinet report.

The council will be examining potential future uses for the County Hall, while it turns South Lakeland House and Kendal Town Hall into its main hub for the area.

Pam Duke, Westmorland and Furness Council’s director of resources said: “The authority is in the fortunate position of having a nearby asset at South Lakeland House / Kendal Town Hall that has benefitted from circa £5m of investment to provide a modern and flexible building that puts service delivery and customer experience at the centre of its design

She added: “Westmorland and Furness Council is committed to delivering on the benefits of being a unitary council. Good asset management is about understanding our customers, identifying what they need and then using our assets effectively to deliver the right level of service whilst delivering best value for money.”

Westmorland and Furness Council operates three service hubs in key locations in its borders – there is one in Kendal, one in Penrith, and another in Barrow.

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Misleading picture of Kendal town hall which is staying open

By Anonymous

    Hi Anonymous! Thanks for mentioning this, but the caption clarifies what building the photo is of. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a County Hall image available. Apologies if this caused you confusion.

    By Julia Hatmaker

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