NEWS: Brackley Town Hall restoration gets final HLF approval

Brackley Town Hall restoration project successful in securing final approval for £2.2m from the Heritage Lottery Fund

We are delighted to confirm that the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has approved the final application for £2.2m for the Brackley Town Hall restoration project. The project can now move forward and be delivered.

The HLF’s national Board of Trustees approved the second round application at their July meeting a few weeks ago.  Their contribution of £2.2m will be matched by around £500,000 from South Northamptonshire Council and £500,000 from Brackley Town Council bringing the total project value to around £3.2m.

This announcement is the culmination of over three years of hard work by the Town Council who we have supported since the start of the project in 2012.  Over this period we have:

  • Prepared an initial options appraisal and helped the Town Council to organise resource and capacity to develop the project
  • Secured match funding from the District Council and Town Council of around £1m and engaged the local community through events and consultation
  • Prepared an outline business case whilst procuring and managing architects to prepare an initial design appraisal
  • Prepared a round application to the HLF including a fresh and innovative activity plan
  • Procured and managed a leading design team
  • Prepared the round two application including the final activity plan and business plan alongside the design team.

Brackley Town Hall was built between 1704 and 1707 by the 4th Earl of Bridgewater, Scroop Egerton, then Lord of the Manor of Brackley. It was constructed to unite the previously separate villages of lower and upper Brackley and was originally used as a place to trade wool and as a manorial court.  Whilst the architect remains unknown there are tantalising links to Wren and Hawksmoor that we hope to learn more about over the coming years.

When we were originally appointed the Town Hall was identified as ‘vulnerable’ due primarily to its condition.  The interior of the building and building services had become inefficient and increasingly obsolete and there were numerous problems undermining its performance such as poor acoustic insulation, poor thermal insulation, poor quality services and the lack of disabled access to the upper floor and Town Council office.

We have worked collaboratively with the Town Council, design team and numerous local stakeholders to find a scheme that re-orders the uses within the building, improves access and generates sufficient revenue to cover annual running costs.  The preferred option for the building has been driven in part by the need to restore this wonderful building and give it a sustainable future and in part by the need to support the regeneration of Brackley town centre in which the Town Hall is located at its very heart.

Kate Pinnock, Director at Ingham Pinnock Associates, said: “Brackley Town Hall is a beautiful Grade II* listed building with a wonderful social, economic and political history.  However, it was clear from the out-set that we needed to find a way to breathe new life into the building to give it any chance of maintaining this role for another 300 years.

We hope that we have brought a creative but financially robust approach to developing a future for the Town Hall and we look forward to continuing to work on the project and seeing it come to fruition.  It has the potential to be an exemplar in historic building restoration, the innovative use of a publicly owned building and a catalyst for town centre regeneration.

Peter Rawlinson, District and Town Councillor, the Project Champion, said: “After three years of hard work we were delighted to learn that our application to the National Lottery has been successful and that the restoration of the Town Hall can now go ahead.  We can now make sure that we extend the life of this important community building long into the future, give it the care and sensitive attention that it needs, and provide a focus for the heart of Brackley as it expands.

We will be opening our doors for the third year in a row as part of the Heritage Open Day programme this September.  We will be putting on a range of events and exhibitions and again providing tours of the attic space which have proved to be so popular in the past.  Further details will be released in due course.”

Adrian Colwell, Head of Strategic Planning and the Economy at South Northamptonshire Council said: “This is truly exciting news for Brackley.  South Northamptonshire Council is committed to delivering economic growth and regeneration in its two market towns and projects like this can have a huge positive impact.  Brackley Town Hall is a fantastic historic building at the centre of Brackley and it is important that it sets the tone of the town for visitors, residents and inward investors.”

Vanessa Harbar, Head of HLF East Midlands, said: “This National Lottery investment will help the Town Hall regain its rightful place at the heart of Brackley life. It’s an excellent example of the role heritage can play in the future of our towns and cities.”

Notes to editors

About the Heritage Lottery Fund Thanks to National Lottery players, the HLF invests money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. @heritagelottery

Further information

HLF Press Office: Tom Williams, Media Officer on or 020 7591 6056. Out of hours mobile: 07973 613820