- The Town Hall is now one of the most sustainable buildings in Camden. Credit Sam Lane Photography
- The refurbished Council Chamber. Credit Polly Hancock
- Cllr Nadia Shah introducing the meeting's themed debate. Credit Polly Hancock
- New webcasting technology features in the Council Chamber. Credit Polly Hancock
- Cllr Richard Olszewski speaking at the meeting. Credit Polly Hancock
- Leader of the Council, Cllr Georgia Gould, addressing the meeting. Credit Polly Hancock
- Weddings have returned to the Town Hall with three newly refurbished ceremony suites. Credit Sam Lane Photography
Reopening of Town Hall marks a ‘pioneering, greener, more inclusive and connected future’ for Camden
The home of local democracy in Camden has reopened as Camden held its first Council meeting back at its newly restored Town Hall.
Councillors returned to the Chamber to debate how the Council, its partners and communities can work together to support women through the cost of living crisis, in response to a report by Camden’s Women’s Forum that found that women are often more impacted by the cost of living than men.
It marks the return of residents, councillors and the public to the historic building following its restoration, which has had its democratic, community and civic facilities modernised within its historic Grade II listed building. The refurbishment of the Town Hall preserves it as a centre for civic collaboration, campaigning, and community activity for generations to come.
Key features of the Town Hall restoration include:
- Further opening up democracy: Council meetings are set to become more accessible than ever, thanks to new improved technology and changes to physical access.
- A leader in sustainability: The Town Hall is now one of the most sustainable buildings in Camden and is on track to achieving an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM rating – a standard for sustainability awarded to only 10% of buildings.
- New community facilities: The Claudia Jones room will be a new large community room on the ground floor of the building for residents, voluntary and community groups, and schools to hire throughout the year.
- Refurbished wedding and civil ceremony suites: Three newly refurbished ceremony suites are available at the Town Hall, each offering views of St Pancras and access to the restored marble staircase.
The Town Hall will also be the home of new affordable business space right in the heart of Camden’s Knowledge Quarter.
The cost of the refurbishment will be fully met from a combination of capital receipts released from the Council’s accommodation strategy, plus rental income the Council will receive from leasing parts of the Town Hall and its events space. This means there will not be any increased costs to the Council taxpayer as a result of the refurbishment.
The reopening of our Town Hall marks a pioneering, greener, more inclusive, and more connected future for Camden’s communities, businesses, and democracy.
We have made our Town Hall more accessible, inclusive, and representative of the communities we serve and their priorities. Through the latest technology and improving accessibility we’ll be able to have more engaging, more accessible debates – ensuring everyone in Camden can fully participate in our democracy.
We are proud to introduce a new space for our community to use, named the Claudia Jones Room. Named after the trailblazing civil-rights activist from Gospel Oak, this is another exciting step forward in our work to ensure that the naming of our public buildings and places represent the diverse backgrounds of communities in Camden, as will be the commissioning of new art in the Town Hall that better represents our communities and their experiences.
Our new Town Hall also represents our ambitions for a greener Camden and the response we are taking to the climate crisis. We are proud that it is now one of the most sustainable historic buildings in our borough and, with only renewable energy used and better insulation, we have reduced the building’s emissions by a massive 335 tonnes a year, a 60% CO2 reduction.
From the outset, we have said that this refurbishment must and will be self-financing. In addition to the significant reduction in running costs we have achieved, the new high-quality workspaces we are providing in the heart of our growing Knowledge Quarter will see the money that we have invested returned, more income generated for our public services, new growth in our local economy, and more jobs created in our borough.
What residents can expect from their new Town Hall
Improved access to local decision making
Council meetings are set to become more accessible than ever, with new improved webcasting technology and electronic voting for Councillors.
Improved audio and visual technology will make it easier for residents to follow Council meetings from home, while physical access to the Town Hall has been improved.
Working together with local disability groups, the Council has made improvements to the building to make it accessible for everyone.
Modern hearing induction loops have been added as well as new and upgraded lifts, wheelchair spaces, parking spaces for Blue Badge holders, baby-changing facilities, and accessible toilets on all floors.
A leader in sustainability
Following its refurbishment, the Grade II Town Hall is now one of the most sustainable historic buildings in Camden.
Its heating and cooling are powered by 100% renewable resources and the building uses 60% less energy than it used to, which will significantly reduce running costs and CO2 output by 335 tonnes a year.
There will be no single-use plastic on site and biodiversity features added to the roof will support local wildlife.
All of this means that the building is on track to receive an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM rating – a standard for sustainability awarded to only 10% of buildings.
Investment in the local economy
The Town Hall will also be the home of new affordable business space right in the heart of Camden’s Knowledge Quarter. It will provide significant new business space with opportunities for free access to small local businesses.
A new community facility: The Claudia Jones Room
The Council has invested in a new large community room on the ground floor of the building for residents, voluntary and community groups, and schools to hire throughout the year.
The community room is named after the civil rights and anti-racism activist, Claudia Jones, who lived in Gospel Oak.
Claudia Jones organised the first Notting Hill Carnival (originally the Caribbean Carnival) at the Town Hall in 1959 in response to the 1958 Notting Hill race riots.
Residents visiting the Town Hall will be able to find out more about her life and achievements in the community room.
Refurbished weddings and civil ceremony suites
There are three newly refurbished ceremony suites available at the Town Hall, each offering views of St Pancras and access to the restored marble staircase.
Weddings have already returned to the Town Hall.
An inclusive and representative place
The Town Hall has a new room for prayer and contemplation, which will be open to people of all and no faiths to pray, reflect or meditate.
The Council has also committed to ensuring that the art on display in the Town Hall represents the borough’s heritage and is reflective of Camden’s communities.
A calendar of cultural events and significant dates will see the building illuminated, flags flown, and special events held at the Town Hall.