Northern Beaches Council is forming a working group to consider the future of Manly Town Hall.

The iconic 85-year-old building, built in 1937, is located at the gateway to The Corso, 1 Belgrave Street, opposite Manly Wharf. Following Council amalgamation in 2016, most Council functions have moved to Dee Why and Council now wants to look at ways the premises can be best used.

The working group will consider around 300 ideas that were put forward on ways the heritage listed building can be used by the community. In calling for volunteers to join the group, Council is being blunt about how long the process may take.

“In early 2021 we started the discussion to hear your ideas about what this could be, keeping in mind that the building is heritage listed. We received close to 300 ideas on how the building could be used and benefit our community.

“We are now seeking expressions of interest from Northern Beaches residents, to participate in a Project Working Group (PWG) that will provide a representative-based view in considering and investigating potential future uses of the Manly Town Hall.

“Once the PWG is established, the process is expected to take a number of months to workshop the ideas and determine the feasibility of options. These options will then be considered by the Council prior to further community consultation expected in mid-2023,” said Council.

Manly Town Hall historic photo
Candy Bingham

Candy Bingham

Possible alternate uses for Manly Town Hall were a key part of Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham’s re-election bid, with a proposal to turn the Town Hall into a performing arts space.

“The purposing of the heritage Manly Town Hall building into an exciting multi-use performing arts space just ticks all the boxes. As a major entertainment hub and community facility, this will also change our night-time culture in Manly. It’s a fabulous way to get the Manly area, businesses and culture all firing again,” Cr Bingham said last year.

Mayor Michael Regan said Council was looking for a range of community and local expertise to join the Project Working Group (PWG).

Michael Regan

Michael Regan

“Manly’s Town Hall is such an iconic part of Manly, which has incredible potential for community use. We asked the community for ideas and received almost 300 suggestions including a music or theatre venue, arts space, museum and environment or community centre.

“We are keen for a working group to narrow these down and consider what is feasible before we invite the community to input further. This is a great opportunity to reimagine and revitalise the Town Hall and help shape its future. Of course nothing will be considered that does not respect and celebrate the heritage of the building, which dates back to the early 1900s,” said Mayor Regan.

The PWG will comprise 12 representatives. Four will be invited to join, including Manly Chamber of Commerce, resident representatives and a property expert. The remaining eight places will be sought from nominations, including tourism, arts, environment and/or heritage, youth, aboriginal and local residents.

Expressions of interest to nominate to join the PWG close at 5.00pm Monday, 01 August 2022, with applications made via Council’s Your Say website.

Images: Good For Manly, Northern Beaches Council
Video: Good For Manly

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