Fea­si­bil­ity study on town hall

Cambridge Edition - - CONVERSATIONS - MIKE BAIN

It was built in 1909 of Ed­war­dian de­sign, has hosted count­less wed­dings, birth­days and func­tions, as well as mem­bers of the Royal Fam­ily.

The Cam­bridge Town Hall made in­ter­na­tional head­lines when news agen­cies from around the world used it as their base to cap­ture im­ages of Prince Wil­liam, Duke of Cam­bridge, and his wife, Cather­ine, Duchess of Cam­bridge, when they vis­ited in 2014.

The town hall was recog­nised by the New Zealand His­toric Places Trust as a Cat­e­gory Class II build­ing and it’s about to be the fo­cal point of a fea­si­bil­ity study to de­ter­mine its fu­ture use.

Waipa District Coun­cil’s group man­ager busi­ness sup­port Ken Mor­ris said the coun­cil was com­mit­ted to pre­serv­ing and main­tain­ing the town hall which he ac­knowl­edged was a well­known land­mark.

‘‘It’s a stun­ning build­ing and as part of our her­itage we have an obli­ga­tion and a de­sire to pre­serve and main­tain it.

‘‘But we should in­vest in a way that en­ables the com­mu­nity to get max­i­mum use from the hall.

‘‘In or­der to lever­age on the build­ing’s po­ten­tial, coun­cil needs to un­der­stand the view points of both cur­rent and po­ten­tial users needs for the fu­ture.’’

Cur­rently the in­come falls well short of cov­er­ing the an­nual costs to main­tain the build­ing.

The fa­cil­ity hosts an av­er­age 17 to 20 wed­dings a year as well as other func­tions.

Be­ing a cat­e­gory class II his­toric build­ing, it had some re­stric­tions which made it un­us­able for some groups.

These in­cluded a lack of cater­ing fa­cil­i­ties and tech­ni­cal equip­ment and an im­prac­ti­cal stage and back­stage area.

The fea­si­bil­ity study would con­sider a range of is­sues in­clud­ing the cur­rent use and what it can­not of­fer in com­par­i­son to other venues.

Con­sid­er­a­tion would be also given to pos­si­ble op­er­at­ing and fund­ing mod­els, in­clud­ing best use of the i-SITE space at the rear of the hall, the fore­court plaza and Ju­bilee Gar­dens.

The build­ing was owned by the coun­cil.

A re­port to be con­sid­ered by coun­cil will rec­om­mend any changes, in­clud­ing up­grades to ameni­ties.

The de­tails and any rec­om­men­da­tions would form part of the coun­cil’s 10-year plan, which would go out for pub­lic com­ment in March 2018.

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