Mayor's warnings over Tewkesbury halls
TWO key public buildings in Tewkesbury could be forced to close, unless essential repairs are carried out.
That is the warning from town mayor Ken Powell, who is increasingly concerned about the George Watson Memorial Hall and the Town Hall.
He said: "People need to know about this. Either we do the work or the buildings will not be fit for purpose and we won't be able to use them."
The town council owns and runs the Watson Hall in Barton Street and the Town Hall in High Street, where its main office is.
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Mr Powell said he believed about £83,000 needed to be spent on the former and £72,000 on the latter.
And with the council being strapped for cash, he said it might have to borrow something like £150,000 or £200,000 from the Public Works Loan Board to pay for the repairs.
That option was discussed by the council earlier this year, but no decision has been taken.
Now Mr Powell says he wants the authority to decide what it is going to do so it can get the work done as soon as possible.
He said: "We've got a Public Works Loan Board committee meeting on September 26 and I'm going to try to make them make a recommendation to go before the full council meeting in October.
"We just can't leave it any more. These buildings have been neglected for so long.
"It's imperative it's done."
The mayor revealed that a survey had shown that the condition of the cellars in both buildings was a major concern.
At the Watson Hall, he said, there was a serious problem with dry rot, wet rot and wood-eating insects.
"It's a real mess. The whole lot has got to come out and it's looking like a big job," he said.
Both cellars have to be properly fire-proofed as well.
As well as finding the money to pay for the work, the town council will have to make sure it works closely with the borough council's conservation officer in order to not affect the historic nature of the buildings.
The Town Hall dates back to the 18th century and is grade II-listed.
Although the Watson Hall is not listed, it was originally built in 1805.