Use of Council Buildings for Civic, Council and Committee Meetings - Update
Further to minute 8 (9/6/21) the Assistant Chief Executive, introduced a report which provided an update in respect of proposed arrangements for the safe operation of Council meetings for the administrative year 2021/22 giving due consideration to guidance and regulations arising from Covid-19.
At the request of the Committee, a further assessment had been completed to determine the work and processes required to enable access and operation of Wallasey Town Hall beyond the limited capacity arrangements currently in place. This included inspection by qualified technical service providers. Following early soft market testing, the forecast investment required to install mechanical ventilation across all floors of the building with central air handling plant was significant, costing approximately £2.4m, before additional site management fees or other costs associated with the buildings’ listed status.
A similar exercise had been undertaken for Birkenhead Town Hall. The forecast investment required to install mechanical ventilation across all floors of the building with a central air handling plant was also significant at this site, costing approximately £1.3m before any site management fees or other costs associated with the buildings listed status.
A number of options with costings were set out in the report which were considered together with the financial implications of the continuing use of the Floral Pavilion site.
In response to a number of comments, the Assistant Chief Executive stated the duty the Authority had as an employer, to its staff in providing a safe working environment and the need to comply with public health guidelines on Covid. The report did cover arrangements up until May 2022, but he acknowledged the need to know as much as possible about the buildings to facilitate a wider discussion on the future use of both Town Halls. He assured Members of the security of the buildings and that both were currently in use to a limited extent, with a notice of the maximum numbers allowed per room.
The Director of Regeneration and Place responded to a comment on the development of new Council offices in Birkenhead, with work due to start on site in the next few weeks, but there would be no civic use for the new office building. Plans were being developed for the regeneration of Seacombe from Seacombe Ferry up to and including the Town Hall and its annexes.
Some Members highlighted examples of recent events they had attended both at Wirral Council and at Liverpool City Council where guidance on Covid health and safety would appear to have been not as strictly adhered to as that which was being followed for meetings at the Floral Pavilion.
The Chief Executive agreed that he would look into the matter raised with regard to Birkenhead Town Hall once provided with further information on the event.
After a lengthy discussion on the issue of the continued use of the Floral Pavilion and whether or not either of the two Town Halls could be brought back into use for meetings, there was a consensus of opinion on the need for more information to be provided for a long term strategy to be agreed upon.
On a motion by the Chair, seconded by Councillor Tony Jones, it was -
Resolved – That -
(1) it be agreed that the arrangements for the safe operation of Council and Committee meetings continue at the Floral Pavilion for the remainder of the Municipal Year, and to be reviewed sooner as required;
(2) surveys be undertaken on the investment proposals for both the Town Halls as set out in the report and request that the Assistant Chief Executive submits an update report to a future meeting of the Committee as soon as possible.
- USE OF COUNCIL BUILDINGS FOR CIVIC COUNCIL AND COMMITTEE MEETINGS - UPDATE Oct 1.1 Final, item 59. PDF 126 KB
- Wallasey Town Hall 2020-21 DEC, item 59. PDF 230 KB
- Wirral Museum DEC 2019-20, item 59. PDF 223 KB
- Floral Pavilion 2019-20 DEC, item 59. PDF 227 KB