Town Hall faces £5million bill to remedy carbon footprint
By Kent and Sussex Courier | Friday, October 11, 2013, 08:00
TUNBRIDGE Wells Town Hall has been exposed for its hefty carbon footprint – a problem experts say would cost up to £5 million to remedy.
LONG CORRIDOR: Some say Town Hall is no longer fit for purpose
footprint: Town Hall
More than £37,000 of taxpayers' money is being spent each year on utility bills – 48 per cent more than would be the case with a new building, and carbon dioxide emissions are 42 per cent higher than a modern office.
A new report published this week claimed modernising the 1930s Town Hall would cost between £3 million and £5 million.
In response, council leader David Jukes suggested the council may sell of the building and move into new offices more fit for purpose.
He added: "We have to cut our carbon footprint by 50 per cent and to do that it will cost a small fortune, so everything is up for grabs."
The damning 60-page investigation reveals a catalogue of failings at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council's headquarters.
There is double the amount of space needed for staff
A new office of the same size would save up to 48 per cent a year in utility bills or £37,044
Not much change to the building's fabric in 75 years
Electricity use is more than double that of a modern office block
Gas use is 30 per cent higher than typical use
CO2 emissions 20 per cent higher than a typical office and 42 per cent higher than a new office
Artificial lighting has to be used even on bright days
Boilers or air conditioning operate outside of business hours
Radiators and piping more than 30 years old
Hot water pumps need "urgent replacement"
Major improvements would be needed to make the Town Hall energy-efficient, including double-glazing, wall insulation, suspended false ceilings and new boilers in each building.
Lib Dem group leader David Neve claimed the report was part of the council's bid to vacate the Town Hall and redevelop the site.
He said: "This is another way to get rid of it. Planned maintenance has been cut back and in my view it has been done to say 'this building is not fit for purpose' and we can move everybody out and then it goes back to the original plan of let's put something else on there."
Mr Neve said if the Town Hall complex were to be redeveloped, it should retain a "civic hub".