By Charlotte Green
Since 2015, the 1840-building and Manchester Regiment Museum have been closed
Ashton-under-Lyne’s Grade-Two listed historic town hall will undergo extensive re-roofing works.
In 2021, Tameside council won nearly £20m in Levelling Up funding for repairing the iconic building on Market Square.
The 183-year-old building in the town center needed extensive repairs to be restored to its former glory, as revealed in previous planning documents.
In addition to extensive roof re-roofing, gutter replacements, localized stonework repairs, and repairs to the main structure, a new application for listed building consent has now been submitted by the local authority.
Since 2015, Ashton Town Hall and the Museum of the Manchester Regiment have been closed.
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At present, full council meetings are held at Dukinfield Town Hall, as well as Guardsman Tony Downes House in Droylsden.
In order to demolish the Tameside Administrative Centre (TAC) and clear the site, the physical link between the town hall and TAC was disconnected. This caused ‘significant damage’, according to reports.
Many of the deteriorating buildings have suffered from dampness and moisture problems in the roof.
Water ingress continues to be a primary concern, according to the latest heritage statement.
Wet masonry prevents any localized repairs, and it has been advised that installing new timbers into wet masonry will only encourage wet rot and deterioration.
Drying the building structure is the primary constraint and challenges identified.”
Also included in the proposal are localized chimney repairs and removals, structural stonework repairs and replacements, and the removal of legacy iron fixings.
The roof parapets on the southern, western, and eastern frontages are identified as the most urgent repairs on the remedial works schedule.
In addition, an existing internal downpipe has been leaking at the roof level and ‘saturating’ the surrounding timbers and masonry.
The supporting documents state that “the public benefits and heritage benefits associated with the repair works clearly outweigh any less than substantial harm caused to the heritage asset.”
As a result of the proposed repair works, the vacant town hall will be able to be used again for a longer period of time, contributing to the regeneration of its immediate surroundings, and providing economic and social benefits. The listed building will be sustained and long-term maintenance will be managed as a result.”
As the report notes, new areas within the historic building may reveal ‘additional defects not apparent during visual inspection’.
In 2018, the collapse of construction firm Carillion delayed reopening the town hall as part of phase three of Vision Tameside.
Renovating the iconic civic building had been budgeted at £10m from the council’s capital budget.
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