Plan to remove asbestos from Stoke Newington Town Hall

Stoke Newington Town Hall

Stoke Newington Town Hall - Credit: Julia Gregory

An application has been lodged to remove asbestos from the ceiling of a function room after part of the plaster fell off at Stoke Newington Town Hall.

The historic building “offers decadent 1930s glamour with its outstanding art-deco interiors”, according to Hackney Council’s venues department, which rents it out.

It is currently being used as a coronavirus testing centre.

The 1930s Assembly Hall boasts one of Europe’s largest working mirror balls and plays host to weddings, parties and business events. Couples can also tie the knot inside the 83-seat former council chamber.

Work is needed to “provide emergency support to the ceiling of the Assembly Hall in the form of birdcage scaffolding and crash deck”, according to a planning application lodged with the council this month.

The application also asks for listed building consent for the “removal of all elements of ceiling containing asbestos together with necessary temporary asbestos containment works, replacement of removed elements to match, and redecoration”.

The work will cost an estimated £395,000, including £220,000 to repair the ceiling and £100,000 to deal with the asbestos.

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A Hackney Council spokeswoman explained: “During the pandemic, whilst the building was empty, part of the ceiling plaster in Stoke Newington Assembly Hall fell and as a precaution there is now scaffolding and safety decking in place whilst we undertake the necessary repairs that are sensitive to the heritage of the building.”

She said the staff and public safety is the council’s number one priority so the the hall is now closed until the repairs are complete.

“Asbestos – which is common in buildings of this age – was not disturbed when the plaster fell and we carried out further air tests to confirm that there is no risk of harm to either the public or staff." 

She added that an engineer has conducted assessments and concluded the cause of the debris is due to age and deterioration. 

“We’ll now be examining the rest of the straps while doing everything we can to preserve the original ceiling. The roof structure itself however has been determined to be structurally sound."

When open, the Assembly Hall can accommodate 275 standing guests and has space for 163 diners with a dance floor.

It can also be used as a theatre or conference hall for up to 305 delegates