PLANS for the refurbishment of Accrington town hall are set to be decided next week

Grade II-listed Accrington town hall, which is owned by Hyndburn Borough Council, was constructed as the Peel Institution between 1857-58 as a memorial to former Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel.

In 2014 Hyndburn Borough Council commissioned alterations and refurbishment works to facilitate the buildings ongoing uses in leisure, courtesy of current tenant Hyndburn Leisure.

The existing ballroom was fully restored and refurbished and provided with new bar and stage facilities along with access to the refurbished second floor balcony above the entrance.

Further refurbishments were undertaken to first and second floor toilets to improve visitor facilities whilst the first floor level kitchen was refitted.

The existing first floor supper room was also refurbished to maintain Hyndburn Leisure’s ongoing commitments to smaller civic events and social programmes.

But while council bosses say uptake of events at the ballroom has increased since the refurbishment, it is too big for some events and some potential business has been lost as a result.

Proposals were lodged earlier this year to refurbish and alter the reception area, as well as surrounding offices, in order to create areas available for use for small civic ceremonies and business events.

Now the application will go before the council’s planning committee, with officers recommending consent be granted for the work.

A report to go before the committee states: "The proposed scheme allows for the refurbishment and alteration of the reception area and underused surrounding office spaces to provide flexible areas for smaller civic ceremonies and business events. This would also disperse the current office environments to the underused office spaces around the main stairwell.

"It is envisaged that while providing a more economically viable platform on which the town hall can operate, the proposals will also offer the opportunity for further aspects of the building to be experienced by local people and businesses alike."

Members will also decide whether to grant a change of use allowing the ground floor of the town hall to be used for ceremonies and functions.