Historic hall could host heritage centre

South Ribble Borough Council'Worden Park
South Ribble Borough Council'Worden Park
Share this article

Historic Worden Hall could become a venue for a heritage visitor centre.

And the space around the hall may be used for community events, such as concerts and artisan fairs.

These are some of the latest ideas for the building, which a report has already indicated may be suitable as a venue for weddings or a restaurant.

South Ribble Council’s scrutiny committee, which meets on Thursday, February 8, will be updated on the authority’s investment into Worden Park and proposals for bring the hall back into use.

Since the last report to scrutiny, an officers’ working group has been set up to focus on both the hall and the civic centre.

Scrutiny councillors will be told that following an initial meeting of the group, the focus is around developing the hall into a “subregional and regional destination”, supporting local tourism attractions as well as its commercialisation.

The group has already identified that the hall could be suitable for weddings and a restaurant.

But it now says there is scope for the heritage visitor centre and nearby fairs and concerts.

Consultants are to be brought in to develop plans for the hall.

Council bosses expect to have proposals presented to them by the end of February/March.

Meanwhile, immediate work will start to develop the ‘visitor tourist’ offer.

A co-ordinated events group is being put together to assist managing all council events and they will be leading to develop and host events in the park.

An initial event – an artisan market – is already being developed, planned for Sunday, April 29, using the improved courtyard surfaces which had been part of earlier improvements to the hall.

Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, who is chairman of the scrutiny committee, said: “Like many councillors, I’ve been concerned at the amount of time the hall’s been left empty.

“I said since taking over as chairman of the scrutiny committee it’s an issue we need to look into.

“I’m pleased they’re now coming up with some plans which look very interesting and I will be urging the scrutiny committee to keep an eye on this so it doesn’t drift.

“To many people, seeing it empty is criminal really.”

He added; “We’ve looked around at other parks in Lancashire, Astley Park in Chorley, Lowther Gardens in Lytham and Haigh at Wigan.

“They’re constantly

having big events on, drawing people and making

money.

“We want it for people to enjoy, but it needs to be making its own keep.”