Councillors will next week hear that closure-threatened Pudsey Civic Hall still makes a modest profit for the council each year – but the local authority says the building needs a major refit estimated to cost £7.25 million.
A report to be considered by councillors sitting on the outer west community committee next Wednesday says the building, which dates back to 1972, does not meet its annual budget targets and because it has large investment needs to ensure that it remains attractive to event organisers.
The council says it is not in a position to continue to fund these needs in the context of its broader financial challenges. The potential sale of the site could also deliver a capital receipt for the council.
Members of Outer West Community Committee has requested this report to allow for a discussion on the proposal which will help to inform the final decision about the future of the building and the wider site.
The report states that the venue, which was used by over 49,000 people in the last financial year, makes a ‘modest surplus’ but is consistently failing to meet income targets and is a “financial strain” on the council.
Revenue from the 300-capacity car park has also decreased due to the closure of Green Flag at Dawsons Corner in 2015 and changing working patterns following the Covid-19 pandemic.
It goes on to say that the 52-year-old building is in need of substantial investment. The report states: “…Taking account of the age of the mechanical and electrical installations of the building, the energy certificate that would need to be achieved and applying a m2 rate to the full refurbishment of the facility, Asset Management have estimated that a comprehensive refurbishment cost would be in the region of £7.25m.”
The council allocates £20,000 per year towards maintenance costs.
WLD understands from different sources that at least two community organisations have expressed an interest in taking on and running the building in a ‘community asset transfer’, similar to the what happened at Bramley Baths, which has gone on to be a national exemplar for community led social enterprises in the UK.
But the council report appears to rule this out at Pudsey Civic Hall, along with bringing in an external operator. It points to the amount of work needed to bring the building up to scratch and to meet government regulations surrounding its poor energy performance.
Councillors on the outer west community committee will have the chance to question council officers and executive board member over the closure proposals.
The full agenda and report can be found here. The committee meets at Farnley Hall Park on Wednesday, 14 February at 1pm.
A public consultation into the future of Pudsey Civic Hall closed last month. Its future will be considered as part of the council’s city-wide budget proposals at a meeting of all 99 councillors at Leeds Civic Hall on 21 February 2024.
The outer west community committee is made up of nine councillors from Calverley & Farsley ward, Farnley & Wortley ward and Pudsey ward. There are five Conservative councillors, three Labour and one Green councillor.
WLD has been tracking council budget cuts over the past few years via our Cutswatch series.