THE leader of the Royal Borough has denied claims the Maidenhead town hall will definitely be ‘flogged off’ as a review is under consideration.

Officers have recommended senior councillors, who will convene at next week’s cabinet meeting, approve plans for a business case to be drawn up to review the town hall and investigate the possibility of creating a new corporate building within the borough.

The report states the town hall, which was built in 1962, has become ‘more costly to maintain’ over the years and it cannot meet the council’s climate target as its energy performance was deemed ‘only just acceptable’.

To ‘modernise’ and refurbish the council’s office building, it could cost an estimated £13.8 million.

READ MORE: Maidenhead town hall's future unknown as council considers review

Since then, the opposing Liberal Democrats launched a campaign to save the town hall, fearing it could be sold off to developers.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the leader of the Conservative-run council, councillor Andrew Johnson (Con: Hurley & Walthams), denies they will sell off the town hall, but says they are exploring a range of ‘non-committal’ options such as moving into a ‘fit for purpose’ council building or keeping the status quo.

Google maps view of the Maidenhead town hall

Google maps view of the Maidenhead town hall

He said: “We are considering all options and the potential for a new civic building within the borough, but only if the business case stacks up.

“If the business case doesn’t stack up for a variety reasons, both economic or social, then we won’t be proceeding because the cost of doing so will be significant and we will have to go through a very, very robust process to progress it.

“As a result of all this, we could be better off staying on the existing site [the town hall] and investing that money to meet our climate targets.

“I just want to see the range of options because what I don’t want to see is, theoretically, we say ‘we’re going to stay in this building and spend all this money,’ only for someone to say ‘hang on a minute before you spend millions of pounds of taxpayers money retrofitting it, have you explored all other options?’”

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When asked what would happen to the town hall if refurbishing it is not the best option, Cllr Johnson said that will need to be ‘scoped out’, but thinks it could end up repurposed into another use such as community, leisure, residential, etc.

He said: “I think that is literally, at the moment, a blank piece of paper.

“You would have to do a series piece of work on what the potential options of that would be assuming that we even get to the point where we think we don’t want to stay at the town hall and we’re moving.”

Cllr Johnson denies this move is a short fire sale of assets – a claim he dismissed as ‘absolute nonsense’.