The opportunity to purchase a landmark building in the Town Centre was considered by the Town Council at two meetings in October. Marshall House, the Victorian former Egerton School on Church Hill, was put up for sale following the collapse of Wright Marshall. At an initial meeting in October councillors decided that it was worth exploring options for the building, recognising it could provide a additional community space and public car parking.
An options paper was prepared in advance of a deadline to submit a bid to purchase the building of the 1st November. This paper was considered at a special meeting of the town council on Tuesday 29th October where it was noted that the limited time available meant a fully costed and detailed business case could not be prepared. The options paper explored the idea of purchasing Marshall House to convert it into a Town Hall venue, accommodating the Market Hall and/or Council Offices. One key benefit identified was the opening up a large hall for the community, identified as a need in the Neighbourhood Plan.
It has been anticipated that the purchase price would be in excess of £1.5m and it was concluded that purchasing the building would not provide value for public money. The council accordingly resolved not to submit a bid or explore the options any further.
Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green said “The Town Council is always looking for opportunities to improve the facilities and services available to our community, on balance we felt that this would have presented too much risk and been a poor use of public money.
“We look forward to seeing proposals to bring this fantastic building back into active use developed by the new owners in due course”.