Town council poised to take over historic town hall05 February 2019
The operation and management of Kidderminster Town Hall could transfer from Wyre Forest District Council to Kidderminster Town Council in a move being considered by the two authorities.
Wyre Forest District Council’s Cabinet will discuss proposals to transfer the operation and management of the Grade 2 Listed historic landmark building as part of its Localism agenda when it meets on Tuesday 12 February.
Kidderminster Town Council already owns the building, which transferred when the town council was created in 2015. It has now put in a formal request to take on the day to day management of the building.
The plan would involve the district council paying a decreasing grant to the town council over the next five years. It would also see six district employees currently based at the town hall in Vicar Street become employees of the town council.
If the transfer goes ahead Kidderminster Town Council will take over all day to day management of the hall, including running events, hiring out the hall and hosting the ever-popular heritage weddings from 1 April 2019.
Kidderminster’s popular annual Youth Makes Music event would also become the responsibility of the town council.
The transfer fully supports the district council’s Localism initiative which enables town and parish councils to have a greater say and role in delivering local services to residents in different parts of the district.
Members of Kidderminster Town Council unanimously approved the transfer at its meeting on Wednesday 30 January and the move will now be discussed by Wyre Forest District Council’s Cabinet on 12 February.
Negotiations have been taking place between the two councils to ensure a seamless transfer and a financial agreement is being proposed which will involve Wyre Forest District Council paying a grant to Kidderminster Town Council which would decrease year on year over the next five years. The total grant over the five year period amounts to £272,860.
Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Community Protection Councillor Juliet Smith said: “I fully support these proposals and I am very pleased that the district council is able to agree to the town council’s request and provide financial support to help ensure a smooth transition period.
“Taking on the operational and management responsibilities will give Kidderminster Town Council greater autonomy over one of the town’s most important and much-loved cultural assets and give them full rein to continue to develop its full potential as an events and wedding venue to meet the needs of local people.
Kidderminster Town Mayor Councillor Martin Stooke said “I am delighted that Kidderminster Town Council is taking on the running of the town hall. This was a unanimous decision of Kidderminster Town Council and it is our intention to continue the work of Wyre Forest District Council to develop Kidderminster Town Hall for use by all the community and to have an outstanding venue for the area.”
Wyre Forest District Council Leader Marcus Hart, who leads on Localism, said: “Our Localism programme has been extremely successful in giving town and parish councils and local organisations a greater say in running local services which meet the demands of different parts of the district.
“Transferring Kidderminster Town Hall will put the town council in control of developing this much-loved and historical landmark and ensure its future prosperity for many years to come. It will also deliver financial savings to the district council in these challenging financial times.”