Yeadon Town Hall takeover - new details of major plans announced

Jamie Hudson, director of Yeadon Town Hall CIC.
Jamie Hudson, director of Yeadon Town Hall CIC.

New details of a major preservation project at a Leeds landmark have been announced ahead of a community takeover.

Yeadon Town Hall Community Interest Company (CIC) officially takes control the 140-year-old building from Leeds City Council on April 1.

Yeadon Town Hall.

Yeadon Town Hall.

Remaining functional when possible, the Grade II-listed site will be fully refurbished throughout - possibly by next year - and provide a new entertainment programme.

Jamie Hudson, director of the CIC, said: “The local community is as passionate as we are about preserving the Town Hall and ensuring it is fit for purpose for many years to come.

"The refurbishment will take a lot of time, money and dedication but we hope to have the building restored to its former glory by the end of 2020.

"In the meantime, wherever possible the building will continue to be functional, providing quality entertainment from across the UK.”

Yeadon Town Hall CIC director Jamie Hudson pulls a pint at the building's bar.

Yeadon Town Hall CIC director Jamie Hudson pulls a pint at the building's bar.

The CIC has secured the money needed to begin making the improvements through Key Fund, a Sheffield-based social enterprise investment company, and a "significant contribution" from Leeds City Council's Heritage Fund.

But the group is hoping to raise £100,000 more to contribute to the improvements at the High Street venue.

A report drafted for the council's Executive Board in November last year claimed that the building cost just over £100,000 to run in 2017, but only generated an income of £31,697.
Floors and curtains will be replaced, kitchen and bathroom facilities upgraded and the bar renewed as a "more welcoming space for patrons to enjoy a pre-show drink".

Its clock tower and faces ware due to be restored, in addition to major repair work to the roof, outside walls and the "stunning" stained glass windows.

The original double height ceilings and stained glass windows in the bar area will be revealed, while "care will also be taken to ensure decoration throughout the building complements the historical architecture".

The 90-year-old heating system is due to be updated as well as improvements to the the main auditorium, increasing the stage depth, introducing new rigging equipment and adding professional flooring.

There are also plans to create additional dressing rooms and backstage areas, a new accessible reception desk and Box Office that will be open during the day and before events, as well as a VIP lounge bar to provide a "luxurious" area for guests to enjoy.

Yeadon Town Hall has previously served as public baths, council chambers, a library, school rooms, cinema and a concert hall.

Since its 1998 refurbishment, the building has mainly been used as a performance and arts venue.

Many of its rooms are available to hire for the community, and tenants include a pre-school, writers’ groups and amateur theatre societies.

The CIC will aim to produce and tour original shows, as well as welcoming other production companies.

And productions are planned this year.

Mr Hudson said: “Our programme of events includes something for everyone.

"Families will enjoy our musical cabaret show, A Night at the Musicals and of course our Circus Spectacular is ideal entertainment for those looking for fun activities during the summer holidays.

"We’re also catering for music fans and classical concert-goers, and have many exciting plans on the horizon including the introduction of Yeadon Town Hall cinema screenings and regular comedy nights."