Skilled Herefordians are being asked to help form a team that could take over the city’s Town Hall, whose future is in doubt.

The striking grade II* listed building in St Owen Street, which is owned by Herefordshire Council but leased long-term to Hereford City Council, has a costly backlog of repairs and necessary improvements.

Coun Jeremy Milln, who is both a county councillor for Hereford’s central ward and a city councillor, believes passing ownership to a board of trustees with popular support would be the best way of addressing this.

“I, along with other city councillors and the town clerk, believe there would be more support for it to have a charitable rather than commercial owner, though we would still want it to wash its face,” he said.

“We are looking for people with the relevant skills – building surveying, law, accountancy – to come forward to form a steering group. A couple of people have already come forward.”

But given the necessary work on the building, “it would need a lot of fundraising – for example it has an antiquated heating system”, he added.


Herefordshire Council has been reviewing the future of both the Town Hall and the Shirehall across the road which it also owns, and is due to produce a report on options for both buildings in time for a cabinet meeting next month.

“As ward member I have asked to see and discuss it before it comes to cabinet,” Coun Milln said. “The fact that they won’t makes me a bit cross. But until they decide what they want to do with the building we can’t make much progress.”

Coun Milln also confirmed that with its lease still having “many years to run”, the city council intends to continue using the building for the foreseeable future.

It will also continue to host the city’s collection of silver and other historic artefacts, despite new exhibition space planned for the city’s Broad Street library as it is transformed into a new £18 million museum for the county.

“The idea of using the Town Hall for more gallery or museum space is still worth discussing,” Coun Milln said.

“Very few people know about the current collection. To make it viable, the building needs to be a destination. It lends itself to a mix of uses – a shop or cafe would be great for bringing people in.”

The Shirehall, closed since part of the ceiling fell in over two years ago, “is also a huge liability”, he said.

“My own view is it must remain in public ownership. The court service still wants it. And it has no other obvious use.”

Hereford Town Hall will be open to the public for a free “heritage open day” on Saturday September 17.

Is Coun Milln right? Send your views to the Hereford Times editor via our letters page.