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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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No takers for former Egremont town hall at auction

The former town hall at Egremont has failed to sell at auction – but a buyer has been found for the redundant cemetery chapels at Cockermouth.

Offers between £70,000 and £90,000 were being sought for the town hall, which was previously used for office space, at an auction in Manchester last Thursday.

Egremont councillor Karl Connor said that it was a “shame for the town” and that “better ways to market the sale” should be looked at.

A spokeswoman for Pugh & Co, which held the auction in Manchester, said that the hall was still for sale.

When a successful buyer is found, they will have to agree to a covenant to continue the operation and maintenance of the town hall clock, which is said to have been given to the people of Egremont.

Mr Connor said: “The clock is a historical landmark for the town and we would like to see the person who buys the building maintain it.”

The winning bidder for the grade-two listed cemetery chapels, which are in the grounds of Cockermouth’s Lorton Road cemetery, has not been disclosed and it is not known how much they went for. They were put up for auction by Allerdale Council, with no reserve price.

Councillors agreed in February last year that the chapels were surplus to requirements. They had fallen out of regular use, with the northern building being used for storage and the southern building occasionally used as a chapel.

With the buildings in need of repair, it was estimated that selling them would save the council £40,000 for roof repairs alone.

Attempts to market the chapels failed to generate interest.

An Allerdale spokesman said: “Any proposed use would need to have respect for both the setting of the building and the grade-two listing of the property.”

Until last year the former Egremont town hall was used by Cumbria County Council’s social services staff before they moved into the former tax office, Blencathra House, at Whitehaven harbourside, along with their colleagues from Somerset House on Duke Street, Whitehaven.

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