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Councils to clash over future of Bourne town hall

Bourne Town Hall. Photo by Rex Needle ENGEMN00120131220142810

Bourne Town Hall. Photo by Rex Needle ENGEMN00120131220142810

 

Town councillors have lodged a bid to prevent a town hall and former library building being sold to commercial developers.

Lincolnshire County Council is looking for buyers for the town hall in North Street and the library building in South Street.

But members of Bourne Town Council, who until recently called the town hall their home, do not want to see the buildings given over to commercial usage such as shops or pubs.

On Wednesday the council submitted a bid to South Kesteven District Council to register the buildings as community assets for the people of Bourne.

If the council’s bid were approved it would have six months to raise finances and prepare a bid to buy the buildings before they can be sold. The county council would not be forced to sell to the town council.

Town clerk Nelly Jacobs said councillors had voted unanimously to try to register the two buildings under the Community Right to Bid scheme, introduced through the Localism Act 2011.

The town council would work with the community to find a use for the buildings if its bids were accepted.

Mayor of Bourne David Higgs said: “We are getting concerned about what the town hall might be used for if it was sold off. The likelihood is some big brewing company would come along and turn it into a pub. I can’t say I am particularly keen as there is already one next door.”

Coun Higgs said on a personal level he was not happy that the town council was now based in the Corn Exchange. He added: “The town hall is such an iconic building in the centre of the town. Everyone still recognises it as the town hall. I am quite worried about it. If it was left to me I would move the town council back into it.”

The town hall was built in 1821 and was paid for in part through subscription with contributions not only from Bourne but also from neighbouring parishes such as Market Deeping, Morton and Haconby. Just under £1,400 was raised for the building. A plaque in the town hall, pictured left, commemorates all those who donated.

 

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