As our focal democratic and civic building, the Grade II listed Camden Town Hall is hugely important to us. It houses the Mayor’s Office, Council Chamber, Committee Rooms and Councillors’ offices, together with support services for Councillors and some public-facing services, including registrars and electoral services. However, at almost 80 years-old the town hall is in need of significant refurbishment to bring it back to its former glory. We want to modernise the town hall while preserving its history.
Our town hall has now closed, as of August 2018. Subject to obtaining planning permission, we will undertake a major refit, improve its sustainability and environmental performance, reduce long-term running costs and transform the way we use some of the space. We will take the opportunity to modernise our democratic meetings and processes – harnessing the potential of new technology to improve/increase access and match modern expectations. This work will improve access to our democratic decision-making meetings – and ensure even more people have an opportunity to get involved in our democracy in new and different ways.
Our new registrars’ facilities will see significant improvements too. We will create a new wedding suite along with refurbished spaces for registering births, marriages and deaths and other functions.
Lendlease have been appointed by the Council as project managers for the refurbishment project.
We are facing our toughest financial challenge. By 2018/19, our like-for-like funding from central government will have been cut in half since 2010, and we will have had to make savings of £169 million. Leasing the currently unused space in the town hall will provide us with a long-term income stream to support our investment — alongside enhancing the local economy and creating employment opportunities.
Whilst the Council will remain the freehold owner of the town hall, we will turn the basement into an incubation space for local business start-ups giving a helping hand to some of our most pioneering local businesses and supporting our Camden plan ambitions by helping develop innovation and entrepreneurship across the borough.
The second and third floors will be remodelled and leased as business office space targeted at organisations within Camden’s growth sectors such as creative industries, science and technology. The Camden Centre will also be commercially leased to generate additional income. The proposed new tenant, Il Bottacio, will run the space as an event venue and, it is intended, will provide opportunities for local community groups to continue to use the space.