Town Hall To Close Doors in June as Staff Prepare Move to Voreda House

Following the completion of Voreda House council staff are preparing to move out of Penrith Town Hall into the new Voreda House council offices from Friday with the final council team reported to be set to turn the lights out and close the door on Penrith Town Hall on the 14th of June.

Bringing to an end over a century history of the Town Hall as a centre of local government in the town.

The current building has its origins in a pair of identical, late 18th century houses one of which was occupied by a cousin of the poet, William Wordsworth. 

Following significant population growth, largely associated with the status of Penrith as a market town, the area became an urban district in 1895.

The new civic leaders of Penrith Urban District Council decided to acquire the two buildings and to combine them into a single municipal structure. 

A new public library was established in a wing on the northwest side of the town hall at the same time that the main building opened.

During the Second World War staff in the town hall administered the accommodation arrangements for the many thousands of people evacuated from the South East to the former counties of Cumberland and Westmorland and a civil defence reporting centre was also established in the basement. 

Penrith Town Hall continued to serve as the headquarters of the urban district council for much of the 20th century and remained the local seat of government following the creation of Eden District Council which was formed during local government reorganisation in 1974.

In 2019 the new administration what would also be the last administration of Eden District Council purchased the former tax office at the rear of Penrith Town Hall and approved plans to create a new single site headquarters for Eden District Council.

The price tag for the new Voreda House has seen costs double and currently stand at £8.3million with the planned opening of Voreda House over 18months later than planned with the former Eden Council having intended to occupy the build in 2022.

Following the local government reorganisation in 2023 scrapping Eden District Council, the New Westmorland and Furness Council agreed to retain Voreda House as one of its administrative hubs for the new council.

Plans to convert Penrith Town Hall into an Arts and Culture venue with a forecast £5Million pound cost for the project were approved by the council, but to date no plans for the redevelopment work have been submitted for the listed building to allow work to be carried out.

Following the announcement of the plans for Voreda House concerns over the future of the town hall were raised with fears it could be sold by the council, leading to action to have the building registered as a community asset by former town councillor Jonathan Davies. The town hall was formally registered on the council's community asset register on the 18th of May 2021.

Ahead of the closing staff working at the town hall have said contractors have started to remove the antiques and paintings from the Town Hall and are placing them into storage ahead of the Town Hall closure on June 14th.

A spokesperson for Westmorland and Furness Council confirmed the authority was now in the final stages of its planned move into Voreda House.


“Since contractors handed over the building at Easter we have been fitting out the interior and working hard to ensure we make best use of the space. This will primarily be a building for public-facing staff, thus ensuring we have teams on the ground in Penrith able to deliver on services that are important to our customers.


“Moving in will be phased, with the first staff working from Voreda House by the end of the month and with the aim of completing that transfer by mid-June. We’ll confirm a date the building will be open to the public in the near future, along with details of any changes to services affecting the public.


“Once Voreda House is operational, we will no longer have staff based in Penrith Town Hall. Work is underway looking at options and a decision on its future will be considered at a later date.”

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