Full refurbishment works will begin on 16 August at the historic centrepiece of Worden Park, Worden Hall following planning approval.
The works will see the hall transformed into a flexible community use space with provisions for small events and weddings.
Hoarding around the site has been erected and The Folly Coffee House and Deli has now moved to a temporary location in the courtyard and will remain there for the duration of the works.
Initial work will involve the contractor setting up a works compound and ensuring the construction site is secure, ready for clearance and demolition.
Impact on the use of the park will be at an absolute minimum, however there may be some footpaths which will be out of use for the period of works. All information will be clearly stated in signage across the site.
All users of the park are asked to take care near the site area and to be particularly mindful of additional site traffic which may come through the park from time to time.
Why not a take a look at what the hall looks like now?
Take a look at the new proposed Worden Hall
The new development of the Hall includes a building extension which will house a lift and sanitary accommodation providing inclusive facilities for all. If these were integrated within the footprint of the existing building the historic building layout and building authenticity would be lost.
The extension is designed to be simple in terms of aesthetics and are relatively timeless and allows the exiting historical building to be clearly distinguished and enjoyed in its own right. Mimicking the existing building or creating a pastiche have been intentionally avoided as this would be detrimental to the perceived quality of the existing buildings.
The proposals have been developed to celebrate and enhance key architectural features including the clock tower by pushing the new façade line back from its existing positions, and the courtyard hall being opened back up to its original full width and footprint.
Natural materials have been selected for the new build which will naturally weather and mellow, settling into the surrounding park landscape. Contrast in materiality is intentional, again to allow the exiting building to be clearly distinguished and enjoyed in its own right.
Should the building use and function change in the future, these clearly distinguishable additions can be taken away and the building returned to its original authentic footprint and form.
This approach is driven by finding a careful balance between conservation ethical decisions and purely aesthetic considerations. The pure conservation approach would be to build nothing and retain only what's original. If the building wasn't a listed heritage asset perhaps the form and material choice may be more complimentary. We're trying to strike the balance of the necessity to add and extend without diluting or compromising the Listed Building.
The site compound for the development will be housed on the small car park near the Hall which has spaces currently for blue badge holders and for onsite business use.
This car park will be closed to the public for the duration of the works.
There will be additional spaces available at the main park car park.
In June 2018 the Council appointed consultants to undertake a feasibility study and options appraisal into the potential future uses of Worden Hall.
The consultant's report reviewed a number of options for the future use of the Hall, the investment costs of each option and the on-going revenue cost to the Council.
Only three options were considered viable and they shall form the basis of the public consultation exercise.
The three viable options are for the Hall to be used for:
1. Community Use
2. A Small Wedding/Events Venue
3. An Exclusive Wedding/Events Venue
A draft copy of the report was received by the Council in March 2019. However, prior to receipt of the report, in January 2019 the then administration pursued a Market Disposal initiative whereby bidders were invited to invest in or occupy Worden Hall subject to agreeing suitable terms with the Council.
A preferred bidder was selected and officers of the Council were instructed at the March 2019 Cabinet meeting to enter into discussions with the preferred bidder and report progress back to Cabinet.
Following the local elections in May 2019 a Labour administration took control of the Council. The new administration paused discussions with the preferred bidder of the market disposal exercise and at the Cabinet meeting on 19 June 2019 agreed to consult the public on options for bringing Worden Hall back into use.
Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, Cabinet Member for Finance, Property and Assets said, "This is one of the most important consultations the Council will undertake.
"Worden Hall is an iconic building at the centre piece of the much loved Worden Park. The previous administration of the Council commissioned a consultant's report to look at potential options for bringing the building back into use, but then a made the decision to take the Hall to market before the consultant's report had been received. Most disappointingly, they took that decision without consulting with the people who matter most, our residents."
"We think it is only right to firstly get the views from a wide a range of people as possible before we move on to taking any final decision on the potential uses of this building. We care about the future of the Hall as much as you do and we want to do this right.
"It's important to emphasise that no decisions about Worden Hall have been made. The consultant's report poses three viable options, and we want to know what you think of them.
"I would encourage everyone to get involved in the consultation and tell us which option you favour so that the Cabinet can take your feedback into account when it meets on 16 October 2019 to consider the public consultation feedback."
An extensive consultation exercise has been carried out which resulted in high levels of involvement from the public. Over 500 respondents replied to the consultation exercise with the majority stating that they wanted the Hall to be a Community Venue which provided a space for meetings and hosted small weddings and events.
The results of the Worden Hall consultation are now available to view:
- Please note, some comments have been redacted under GDPR.
The results were shared at South Ribble's Cabinet Meeting on 16 October 2019.