Using a £15,000 project viability grant awarded to Whitby Town Council by the Architectural Heritage Fund, the councils have commissioned a team led by specialist conservation architects, Burrell Foley Fischer (BFF), to carry out a condition survey of the building and recommend what repairs need to be made.
The company has also been asked to suggest how the building could be repurposed for sustainable uses and how facilities could be improved for market traders.
The councils say the aim of the project is to make the old town hall building a key focal point for the town and ensure a vibrant and bustling market place.
The building has been empty and unused since 2017, an issue that was identified as requiring attention in the Whitby market consultation in 2018.
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Last year, Scarborough Council’s cabinet gave approval for officers to work with Whitby Town Council to explore options that could secure the building’s future.
The architects are expected to feedback their findings and initial ideas to the two councils by the end of this month.
The councils plan to start their consultation on the proposals in November, which will include engagement with market traders and local businesses in the vicinity of the old town hall.
The results of the consultation will be used to draft proposals for the future of the building by the end of the year.
Cllr Liz Colling, Scarborough Borough Council Cabinet Member for Inclusive Growth said: “We’re pleased to be working in partnership with Whitby Town Council to explore ways in which we can secure a sustainable future for the much loved and historic old town hall.
“The building is an important part of the town’s heritage and a prominent feature of the market area and east side of Whitby, so to be able to bring it back into use to support the economy of the area would be wonderful.”
Cllr Linda Wild, Town Mayor of Whitby, added: “The town council welcomes the start of this project and is pleased that BFF are undertaking the work for both councils.
“We want to understand what needs to be done to secure the building, correct years of neglect and misuse and bring it back into active use in a way that supports local businesses, satisfies local people and delights visitors.
“Our consultation is so important because it gives people in Whitby a real chance to help us shape a sustainable future for the old town hall.”
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