Labour’s plan for the Guildhall – Taxpayers face immediate £400,000 bill

York Guildhall

York Guildhall

Labour are oppressing ahead with their plan to turn the Guildhall into a “Digital Arts and Media Centre”.

Essentially this will mean constructing small business units.

Initially around £400,000 is being spent appointing additional staff to manage the project and to undertake demolition works on parts of the site. In total £1.4 million has been allocated to the project plus an – as yet unspecified – amount of capital investment (likely to be several millions of pounds)

The Council has still not published even an outline business case indicating how such a development could be paid for and sustained.

There is still a large amount of empty commercial property in the City. There are at the moment, for example, 11 starter units unoccupied at the York Eco Business centre at Clifton

The original intention had been to maintain the Guildhall and adjacent heritage buildings as the political and cultural centre of the City. This would have left space at the new West Offices for commercial use.

This has already been eroded.

A commercial use is taking place in part of the building (John Lewis recruitment) while – ironically – another part of the site is being used by the theatre group which is behind the “Arts Barge” project.

The Council has not revealed how much rent it is receiving for these uses or what the ongoing maintenance and other liabilities are for the largely empty site. Earlier in the year the empty building was reported as costing around £13000 a month to sustain

Most seriously it looks like it will be at least a year before a permanent use is found for the buildings.

In the meantime, part of the site has been mothballed prior to demolition while it seems likely that the rest of this key building will be allowed to quietly rot away.

11 thoughts on “Labour’s plan for the Guildhall – Taxpayers face immediate £400,000 bill

  1. […] The Guildhall has also now been empty for 8 months and is costing Council taxpayers around £160,000 a year in maintenance, rates and […]

  2. […] They plan to have a studio in the remodelled Guildhall. […]

  3. […] They plan to have a studio in the remodelled Guildhall. […]

  4. […] in 2012) for leaving the building largely empty and for failing to recognise the role that both the Guildhall and Mansion House should continue to have in the civic life of the […]

  5. […] in 2012) for leaving the building largely empty and for failing to recognise the role that both the Guildhall and Mansion House should continue to have in the civic life of the […]

  6. […] …and there will be minimal time for consultation before the Cabinet signs off £500,000 in expenditure on design work for what it describes as a “digital media centre”. […]

  7. […] …and there will be minimal time for consultation before the Cabinet signs off £500,000 in expenditure on design work for what it describes as a “digital media centre”. […]

  8. […] The future of the Guildhall and nearby buildings was last discussed in July 2013. […]

  9. […] have been pouring money into the scheme since the summer of 2013 – when they still enjoyed an overall majority on the Council. They failed to secure broad […]

  10. […] much prevarication, the Council opted in 2013 for a £9 million scheme to provide a “digital media centre” at the […]

  11. […] in 2013 by the then Labour controlled Council when they upped desks and moved to West Offices. They opted in 2013 for a £1.4 million conversion into a “Digital and Media Centre” […]

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