£2,000 improvements for Town Hall

Old Town Hal c1914

[The Luton News: Thursday, May 22nd, 1919]

The Tolls and Municipal Buildings Committee reported to Luton Town Council on Tuesday evening that they had further considered the plan prepared by the Borough Engineer for the following improvements of the Town Hall:

(1) Reconstruction of the Town Clerk's and Borough Assistant's offices;

(2) Improved access for such offices from the Town Hall and street;

(3) Provision of offices for the rate collector by the adaptation of the premises let to Mrs Stratton – to be connected with the Borough Accountant's office by a corridor over the entrance to the Salvation Army barracks; and

(4) Provision of lavatory and cloak-room accommodation for the members of the Council, officers and public.

The estimated cost of the work is £2,000.

The Committee unanimously recommended (1) that the plan and scheme be approved; (2) that tenders be invited by advertisement for the execution of the works in two portions (one portion being the alteration of Mrs Stratton's shop and the connecting corridor); (3) that notice be given to Mrs Stratton terminating her tenancy of September 29th next (rent £45 per annum).

The Deputy Mayor [Councillor Dillingham] said they had reached the stage when something had to be done. A good many of them hoped it would be possible to build a new Town Hall as a memorial, but the money was not forthcoming in the direction they hoped, and the idea had to be abandoned.

Councillor Chapman, in seconding, said that this alteration was badly needed. They would not let a factory have such death traps as some of the present offices provided.

Councillor Attwood asked whether any consideration had been given to his suggestion that any additions which were made should be removed, and he thought any extensions which were necessary could have been very well designed to form part of a new building later on.

To build a new Town Hall in these times, said the Mayor [Councillor Impey], meant they would have to pay £150,000 for what could have been obtained for £60,000 or £70,000 before the war, and even if they started by building a portion it would probably mean not less than £25,000 or £30,000.

A new Town Hall was out of the question for probably another 10 or 15 years, and as £150,000 would probably be a minimum for such a scheme, and £25,000 or £30,000 they least they could spend if they only did part of it, he thought the Committee were wise in getting this improvement for £2,000.

Alderman Williams considered it would be very unwise to try to build part of a Town Hall at present, because what was done now would limit the future plans, and there might be a great alteration in the needs of the municipal services before they could build the new Town Hall.

Alderman Wilkinson, while agreeing the Committee were taking the best course at present, thought the present abnormal conditions would not last many years.

The Deputy Mayor: “If this is done it will carry on the town for another 20 or 30 years.”

The Committee's report was approved.