A RACE against time is on to put together a take over bid for Ripley’s Town Hall.
Owner Amber Valley Borough Council is marketing the town hall building for sale and the adjoining borough council headquarters as a multi-purpose space to attract private investors.
Leader of Amber Valley Borough Council Cllr Stuart Bradford has said the site was under used and if sold, could save the cash-strapped authority £100,000 a year in rates alone.
But protesters want to see the Town Hall preserved as a meeting chamber for the town council.
This week Ripley Town Council said it was hoping to have a bid ready to submit to the borough council before the authority’s monthly meeting on September 28. It has offered to buy the building for a penny, but would take over the running costs.
Leader of the town council, Cllr Steve Freeborn, said it must have a bid ready by this time to give the town council a chance to set out its budget for next year.
He said: “We have met with the leader of the borough council and its chief executive recently to discuss our offer. There will be further discussions in due course and they are treating the offer seriously.”
The news comes as a petition asking the borough council to take the Victorian building off the market has now gathered 1,500 names. The borough authority will consider every petition with over 1,200 names on it at its main full council meetings.
If the town council can submit a business proposal in time, both the petition and its business plan could be on the agenda for the borough to debate at the meeting.
Conservation watchdog, English Heritage is also considering a bid by town councillor Juliette Blake to have the town hall Grade II listed.
The listing is only given to buildings of architectural and historical significance and, if successful, would restrict ways in which an investor could alter the site.