Town hall will kill someone, warns council

Whitby town hall falls into disrepair. John Freeman
Whitby town hall falls into disrepair. John Freeman

Someone is going to get killed or seriously injured if Whitby’s old town hall is left to to detiorate further.

That is the stark warning from Whitby Town Council which is hoping to form a partnership with other agencies and find a future use for the disused building which dates back to 1788.

Cllr John Freeman who has a studio opposite the town hall said he has seen it decline over a period of time.

He said: “On the south side there are pieces of masonry coming away . One piece coming off the size they are could seriously injure or kill someone.

“It is an area where people sit on the steps underneath - and it has happened before.”

It is thought that problems are being exacerbated by the fact that the last repairs were done using reinforced concrete rather than proper stonework which is allowing moisture and damp to get into the fabric of the building.

Whitby Town Council has previously made approaches to the borough council with regards taking on the old town hall as an asset but also the rental income from the market which takes place in the square.

Cllr Freeman added: “The borough council shied away from that, they want the income but not to repair the town hall.

“It is in a mess and will get rapidly worse.”

Cllr Phil Trumper suggested getting stakeholders involved in a project similar to the Abbey’s former banqueting hall which is now the youth hostel.

He said: “The only way we can stop the building declining any further is finding a solution to make it sustainable and form a partnership with stakeholders and take this forward.

“It is an iconic building, you can see it from every corner of Whitby, but it has been left.”

The town hall was built by Nathan Cholmley to act as a tollbooth to collect rents from land tenants and as a court leet to deal with disputes and prosecute petty offenders.