Following the decision to refurbish both the Queens Hall and Library, the Parish Council commenced detailed planning on refurbishment activities. A refurbishment working group was created to oversee the management and financial control of the programme. This group also included representativeness from organisations who use both buildings, so that building knowledge and usage could be considered as part of the decision making.
Given the size of the expenditure of the task, after an extensive tendering and interview process in 2017, the council appointed BowmanRiley as consulting architects and project managers for the Queens Hall. During 2018 the refurbishment group worked with BowmanRiley Architects to agree a development brief and seek competitive tenders from five firms. Two of the bidders were subject to an additional review, following which the Parish Council adopted the BowmanRiley recommendation to appoint the Leeds based firm JP Wild to carry out the building work for both the Queens Hall and Library.
Planning permission was required for the back extension and the replacement windows in the Queens Hall. The application documents are available to view on the Bradford Council website: https://planning.bradford.gov.uk/online-applications/(Bradford Planning reference: 18/03328/FUL).
The Parish Council has also approved plans to borrow £575,000 to be repaid over 25 years in order to fund this work for the Queens Hall and Library. During the village consultations on refurbishment, the planned repayment period was 15 years. On balance, the council felt that a further precept increase to support a repayment over 15 years was not desirable, and that repayments over 25 years would minimise the impact on the current precept. Options to repay this early will be sought as and when opportunities present themselves.
Following discussions with Bradford Council on the freehold of the Queens Hall, BDMC have declined both to transfer the freehold of the Queens Hall to the Council, and to contribute to the refurbishment programme. However Bradford Council were prepared to extend the Community Assets Transfer lease from 50 to 99 years, and this is something which the Parish Council are progressing. This applies to all the parks and other assets recently transferred as well as the Queens Hall.
The Parish Council have already approved a cost of £365,000 to refurbish the Queens Hall. Less a 10% contingency, BowmanRiley and JP Wild have refined the schedule of work in order to agree a work package of £323,000. This will now be progressed over the next few weeks in order to start work on the Queens Hall in February 2019.