Daylesford Town Hall to close for upgrade works

February 28th, 2024Daylesford Town Hall to close for upgrade works

The Daylesford Town Hall will close for essential electrical and roofing works for at least 18 months from September, the Hepburn Shire Council has announced this afternoon.

The Daylesford Town Hall will close for essential electrical and roofing works for at least 18 months from September, the Hepburn Shire Council has announced this afternoon. 

Priority works to protect the significant heritage building include extensive repairs to the roof, parapets and chimneys, with electrical upgrades to commence once the roof is replaced. 

Hepburn CEO Bradley Thomas says $1 million has been allocated toward the project in this year’s budget, with $200,000 also allocated for further planning, with the “best estimate” of the overall cost of the project to this point is $1.5 million.

Holding a media conference earlier today to announce the works and temporary closure, the council says it will work with regular users of the building to help identify alternative venues while it is closed.

Hepburn Shire Mayor, Cr Brian Hood, says the council will concurrently assess the feasibility of maximising future use of the significant building.

“We are investigating options to consolidate and upgrade the town hall so it could act as a community hub, similar to what we have in Creswick, Clunes and Trentham,” Cr Hood said.

“This would include whether Daylesford Town Hall could be refurbished to include a library along with multi-purpose community spaces to cater for meetings, functions, performances and events,” he said.

When the council cancelled the Hepburn Hub at The Rex project in November 2021, it resolved to identify possible solutions for staffing accommodation and community facilities for Birch Ward.

The possible relocation of the town’s library and upgrade to the Town Hall space is now being identified by the council as a means to help to achieve those objectives.

Community consultation had highlighted the community’s strong connection to the Daylesford Town Hall.

“There are many steps required before this kind of project would proceed. In order to assess the feasibility of the project we need to obtain architectural advice on the suitability of the site, receive community input and consider feasibility and concept designs,” said Cr Hood.

“Progression of the project will be dependent on securing external funding. A rejuvenated town hall could deliver fit-for-purpose, modern community facilities that maximise the use of this important community building and meet the needs of the community,” he said.

The council will establish a Project Advisory Group (PAG) of eight members in coming months to guide discussions on how the proposal would best meet the community’s needs.

“We will invite expressions of interest for this PAG in April. I encourage anyone interested in community facilities in Daylesford, Hepburn and Hepburn Springs to put up their hand,” Cr Hood said.

“A PAG has been very effective in the development of The Mechanics Trentham, a council building that is almost complete, which encompasses a new library, kitchen and community spaces,” he said.

Should the town hall project progress beyond the upgrades that have already been identified as required, the council will look to seek additional funding from state and federal governments. In the meantime it has established an online page on its Participate Hepburn site to enable members of the community to engage and find out more.

The roofing and electrical works at Daylesford Town Hall have been identified as necessary to preserve the structural integrity and modernise the ageing electrical system.

The works have been deemed necessary regardless of any changes to the building’s future use.

While the works are underway, the council chambers and council staff who work in the town hall will relocate to leased premises at 24 Vincent Street.

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