In an effort to inform the debate about the future of Burnby Hall I wrote in December to the Director of Finance for ERYC Julian Nelson to ask some detailed questions about annual running costs for the Hall. As I did not recieve a response I submitted an FOI request. Some people had mentioned that annual costs were in the region of £100k but I thought it would be a good idea to let everyone know the sort of funding challenge that might lie ahead. Yesterday I received a response to my Freedom of Information request.

I think that Pocklington Town Council are to be applauded for trying to keep the Hall as a community asset. However, no one should be under any illusions about the task ahead.

The good news is that ERYC say that there are no serious structural issues with the property. They also confirm that a decision has not yet been made to sell the building but this this is under review.

I did ask for the council to put a value on the building if it came onto the market, but they said that they could not provide such information because it would unfairly restrict their ability to get the best value for the property should we wish to dispose of the property in the future.

The bad news is that the annual running cost of Burnby Hall for 2019/20 was £109,564 which included a large sum for repairs and maintenance. For 2021/22 it was £83,947. The figure includes repairs and maintenance, energy, business rates, caretaking and cleaning.

The figure for 21/22 also includes £43,172 for recharges. This could be for a caretaker or internal council costs. If you take this off the total the running costs fall to £40,775. However, if the building were to be acquired by a community trust a building manager would probably be required which would add to the annual running costs.

The information above relates to annual running costs. If someone can come up with a business plan hopefully ERYC might agree to an asset transfer at zero or minimal cost. However there would still be one off building costs to refurbish and reconfigure the building.

It has been suggested to me that by publishing these figures some people may be put off joining the working group. I understand their point of view, but have I always been of the opinion that much better decisions are made when everyone knows all the facts. I also think that the community, many of whom were surprised to learn the Hall is currently owned by East Yorkshire Council, deserve to know the costs associated with maintaining this iconic building.

As the building is currently owned by East Yorkshire Council and therefore a publicly owned asset, I am publishing the spreadsheet which was provided to me as part of my FOI request.

You can now share this information via social media, e mail or print.