Saturday, April 03, 2010

Town Hall

Blogger Purbecklad said...
Town Hall Roofing Costs I have heard it rumoured that the roof of the Town Hall is going to cost something in the region of £400,000 to repair. It is a listed building and obviously you cannot just do something on the cheap, but I was surprised at the cost. Does anybody have an idea of what work is involved so we can check we are getting good value for money here. Thank you
11:59 AM


The Postman said...

Why do you think anyone would spend more than they have to?

Anonymous said...

Have 3 different quotes been asked for and who from ?

Anonymous said...

Why do you think anyone would spend more than they have to----

Its the council!!!! its not their money that they are spending!

Anonymous said...

"so we can check we are getting good value for money here."

I was just wondering how you would know what represented good value, which is not the same thing as the lowest estimate. Are you a surveyor? I can't help thinking that, as ever, we have posters lining up to moan about the council without any knowledge.

Anonymous said...

I do agree with you, buuuut, we should be able to find out how our money is being spent.

We should also have a vote on whether our stupendously pompous and secretive parish council should remain in a strangely attractive building that has large maintenance needs and no disabled access.

My vote is to sell the building, buy a portacabin, or use the Mowlem etc, and then have another vote on how and where the money is spent.

Swananon said...

So from a question about cost, which has not been answered, we already have people asking about selling the building, or asking whether the original poster is a surveyor.

As to querying people spending more than they have to, we already have an example in the caravan park where the town appears to have been stiched up to the tune of millions in the long term, just for a quick buck now.

So I think the question asked is relevant, and an answer would be appreciated so our minds can be put to rest. After all, it is the taxpayers of Swanage who stand to lose if the best course of action is not taken with our town hall.

So I am asking two questions.

What is the cost of sorting out the Town Hall roof?

Is this something that we are entitled to know under the freedom of information act?

I would appreciate anybody answering these two questions.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the second question, below is a link listing the exemptions to the right of access under the Freedom of Information Act. I would suggest none apply.

Regarding the making of a quick buck in the leasing of SBV, am I right in saying that the money is sitting in the bank earning a slow buck. I heard that the District Auditor wants an equal or better return on the funds compared to what SBV provided.

Anonymous said...

Having declined to spend money over the last hundred years on maintaining the town hall and prevent the structure's decline its comical to suggest they are about to spend more than they have to on repairs.

It would make sense to hand it over to some form of organisation that can qualify for grants to bring it up to scratch and use it as some form of public building.

Purbecklad said...

Thanks for your replies.

Nobody has disputed the £400,000 costs of repairing the roof so I assume that is the correct figure.

I like the idea of three quotes, although I would have thought the council would use the services of a surveyor to give an idea of what work is involved in order to see whether the quotes were reasonable for the work involved.

Why the sudden rush from some posters here to sell the Town Hall just because some money needs to be spent? Surely now is the worst time you should be selling buildings, and with a recession in the building trade now seems to be a good time to be getting competitive quotes, once you have your own survey which gives you the knowledge of what you are looking for.

As to handing over our Town Hall to an organisation which can get a grant towards repairs, this leads on to another thought. What is stopping our council applying for a grant directly?

I would still like to see the actual figures for repairs, as I am sure everybody else here would.

Alexander and his Ragtime Band said...

As a civic building, and as the figure for repairs is only just over the average price for a property in 40% of the area, it ain't so much to help restore a landmark is it?

Mind you, Langton Matravers Parish Council meet in a toilet block, I understand, but it don't leak rain?


Swananon said...

I have obtained the actual survey figures for the Town Hall repairs, which includes the roof and other remedial repairs. The figures are reproduced below:

Stonework repairs to the front fa├žade £40,000
Updating plumbing system including toilets £10,000
Stripping, recovering, felting, and insulating roof £25,000
Repairs to the Chamber ceiling £2,500
Woodworm and beetle treatment £2,000
External window timber repair/replacement, and repainting £10,000
Exposed external metalwork treatment £1,000
The dampness in external walls is treated £2,000
The pointing repaired as necessary £2,000
Carry out electrical lighting upgrade £3,000
Replace asbestos guttering on annexe £1,500
General repairs and improvements (various) £2,500

The surveyors recommend that some cost savings could be made (eg. by combining various jobs to utilize scaffolding at the same), when the building is fully scaffolded for the roof replacement, the opportunity could be taken for the window, guttering, and stonework repairs to be done at the same time.

As can be seen from above, the total works should come in at a figure of around £101,500 before any cost savings mentioned.

This is well below the figure which has been rumoured, and it did make me wonder why a figure of £400,000 might be rumoured around town and not corrected at the first opportunity. Perhaps the anonymous poster with the idea of selling our Town Hall is rather closer to the mark than they realised when they made that post.

Anonymous said...

The previous post does not specify a remedy for the lack of access for those with mobility and other issues.

Nor does it deal with fire prevention and other H&S issues which I have heard require updating. Nor does it discuss refurbishment of offices and other rooms which appear to be rather dated.

There is however an impressive new electronic gate to the private car park that swings open with a royal 'woosh' to allow our toytown grandees to park their vehicles without having to associate with mere mortals who wait for access to meetings, often in the rain, outside the locked front door....................

Anonymous said...

For goodness sake the council moving to other premises is not exactly guesswork. Members have been talking about it for several years although I don't now if it has been formally discussed at council meetings. The strange thing is that it has taken them so long to decide to shift out of something that can only be described as a cross between the Bastille and Scrooge's counting house. Most of the public sector in Swanage seems to be contemplating moving house so we can expect an elaborate version of musical chairs with chairs being added rather than removed.

I see that Tesco want to convert a former Methodist church in Wetbourne into a shop - perhaps they would like a town hall as well.

Anonymous said...

But the Town Hall is full of Masonic imagery - was it once a Masonic Hall? These were pointed out to me by a prominent Conservative Council member. He seemed to know a LOT about Freemasonry.

Town Council - Masons - Conservatives - in power. Hmmmm.

Seems like kharma, to me, for STC to remain there......

.....although Langton's public convenience, as a parish meeting hall, has its own merits - as an example for STC to follow!

Anonymous said...

Not surprising really as it was paid for with money from the stone business. Swanage was a place where masons were exactly that.

The dedication plaque in the Mowlem allows for lectures on the principles of Freemasonry. An interesting thow-back. One suspects the "free" part of the name had more of a resonance in Mowlem's time. The enlightenment emphasis on equality etc seems to have been ditched when they discovered the joys of royal patronage and it is easy to forget that it was something other than a dining club for the middle classes at one time. The local version seems to revel in the secret society aspect but we hear surprising little of their charitable works.

Anonymous said...

I believe judges, magistrates and other public positions (senior police) must divulge whether or not they are Freemasons. Is this information available via a Freedom of Information Act request and, if so, might it not be interesting to ask whether officers of STC, PDC and DCC are involved with The Craft??

Incidentally, in America Freemasonry is entirely open, and engages in very good charitable acts, the most significant being that of looking after widows and children of Masons. America was founded on the principles of Freemasonry more than on religion. It is regarded positively, though, like so many such things these day, it is finding it difficult to attract younger members.

I wonder why Englsh Masonry has to be so 'secret'. It only attracts suspicion. My father (a 32nd degree US Mason) took a visitor from England (also a Mason) to his lodge; the English gentleman said it was not the same.

I suspect it may wither or die out within a generation, or become a small, exclusive 'club of influence', as I understand few are joining these days.

Anonymous said...

'Not surprising really as it was paid for with money from the stone business.'

This raises the question - was the 'Town' (sic - should be 'Parish') Hall built for that purpose, or another (such as a private home?). I suspect Burt or Mowlem money must have been behind it, as the facade (removed from an ancient building in London) would almost certainly have been supplied by one of these gentlemen.

Anonymous said...

Burt used to send the stone up to London and then the boats needed ballast for their return journeys. Any old rubbish could be used but on occasion something caught Mr Burts eye and he'd throw the Wellington Tower, or some old cannons or the facade of the Mercers Hall into his boats and then use them to edify Swanage.

Mercers Hall was pulled down in about 1880, rebuilt in Swanage, shortly afterwards, and so far as I'm aware, has always been the Town Hall.

The Mercers were not dissimilar to the Mason, but are now a charitable organisation. is the website of the Masons charitable arm, or EstateAgentsRus as their known in Swanage.

Anonymous said...

'EstateAgentsRus as their known in Swanage.'

Thanks! This made my day!

Anonymous said...

The Mercers' Guild was made of members involved with textiles or mercury (which was used in the production of some cloth). Like the Grocers' Guild, it was one of many medieval guilds in London and further afield. Didn't Burt live across the High Street in what is now the hotel - perhaps he wanted to see a bit of London from his front window??