New business hub key to planned refurbishment of Camden Town Hall

Cabinet councillors are set to review the business case for a refurbishment of Camden Town Hall on Wednesday (14 September 2016) that could see it restored and modernised and a new business hub created in old administrative offices at the top of the building.

The Council faces Government cuts to its budget that will total £171 million by 2018/2019. With the ageing Town Hall in need of major investment, the Cabinet report proposes to lease office spaces on the upper floors to businesses, with the annual rental income they generate helping to meet the building’s refit costs.

The refurbishment will allow the Town Hall to continue to be the permanent home of democratic decision-making in Camden in the future, though its regular full Council and Cabinet meetings, scrutiny committees and panels will be temporarily relocated to the Crowndale Centre, near Camden Town, during the two and a half year transformation.

Councillor Theo Blackwell, Cabinet Member for Finance, Technology and Growth at Camden Council, said: “These plans will restore this Grade II listed building, modernise democracy and use upper floors formerly used for back-office administration much more productively. Situated in the heart of the ‘Knowledge Quarter’, with the best transport links in the UK, we specifically want it to be an attractive base for tech, creative and life sciences companies to grow.

“This major project will safeguard the future of our historic democratic chambers, create a modern hub for entrepreneurship and make full use of space to deliver an ongoing income stream.”

The refurbished Town Hall will include:

• small and medium enterprise (SME) incubator space in the basement

• refurbished and modernised Council democratic and civic spaces on the ground and first floors

• commercial office uses on with separate entrance to old upper floor space previously used for administration and currently being decommissioned

The refit will reduce long-term running costs, improve the Town Hall's energy efficiency and minimise its carbon emissions, with the industry recognised BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating an achievable target. The installation of new technology will also assist the democratic process and public transparency.

The vast majority of Camden’s employees now operate from the Council’s 5 Pancras Square offices, yet the Town Hall remains the home for the Council’s cabinet politicians and their support staff.

The refurbishment involves moving council functions to the Crowndale Centre near to Camden Town for 2.5 years while works proceed.

You can read the full details of plans for refurbishment of the Town Hall in Agenda Item 11 of the Cabinet report on our website.