Hackney Council has raised £97,000 from renting out new event space at the Town Hall – an average of £12,000 a month since the building’s refurbishment last June.
The council also claims to be millions better off after the £26.5 million revamp, with a projected surplus of £12 million, thanks to savings on upkeep and by renting out off-site council space.
It comes as the council plans to open the Town Hall on Mare Street for regular tours from 23 May, with heritage displays in its historic vaults.
Last June, Hackney Council marked the end of the Town Hall’s refurbishment with a secret party of 250 guests, including senior London politicians, from council leaders to London Deputy Mayors.
No media outlets were invited or told about the event and there were no official photographs.
When it was was revealed by the Hackney Citizen, the council called the £6,000 party a “test event” for renting out new spaces at the Town Hall to raise revenue.
Now the council says that in the first eight months since the refurb, it has raised £97,162 through renting out the new spaces for private events.
“Hackney Council has made £97,162 in revenue from venue hire of Hackney Town Hall since the refurbishment was completed in June 2017”, said a council spokesperson.
“This has been through a mixture of events ranging from wedding ceremonies and receptions, to private corporate hire and hiring from local businesses.”
The council said it is recouping the costs of the refurbishment by renting out off-site council office space at market rates, plus saving around £2 million per year on upkeep.
This leaves the council with a projected £12 million surplus – though this money will be invested in frontline services and building affordable homes and workspace.
The spokesperson said: “Essential health and safety works to the iconic Hackney Town Hall not only includes new ways of income generation, and an increase in office capacity by around 66 per cent.
“It is also a part of the wider programme of estate realisation that has enabled the council to release assets to recoup the costs to the council of these works.”
They went on: “Alongside this the council also avoids the incurring of patchwork remedial works which saw us spend on average around £2 million from revenue a year to simply keep the building open, leading to an overall projected surplus of £12 million if capitalised.
“But ultimately [this] will generate income to support front line services and free up land to allow the council to build affordable housing and workspace.”
The council said most of the private events at the Town Hall since June were wedding receptions or parties.
The added: “In the last year we have also had a number of bookings from private companies, and public and charity sector partners, such as the NHS. These have included conferences, awards events, and promotional events.”