MAJOR redevelopment at a town hall is to be funded by a loan after an application for National Lottery cash was turned down.

Proposals to refurbish the 60-year-old annexe at Thirsk and Sowerby Town Hall were drawn up last year in response to fears that it was nearing the end of its life.

But the hall management committee has now had three bids for lottery funding turned down, the latest on the grounds that the building's owners are statutory bodies and not eligible for support.

Now, Thirsk Town Council and Sowerby Parish Council, which jointly own the hall, are expected to go ahead with plans to take out a loan.

The councils will borrow approximately £135,000 over a period of about 20 years to meet the cost of the scheme.

Hambleton District Council has also offered a grant of £9,000, on condition that the remainder of the money is forthcoming.

Thirsk town councillor Jan Marshall said the town and parish councils both agreed before the latest lottery application was submitted that if it failed they would aim to take out a loan to fund the work.

She said this could mean an increase on the precept levied by councils on householders.

She said: "We took the decision in principle beforehand, although obviously people will look at it again and there may have to be savings made.

"The annexe was built as a temporary structure about 60 years ago and, although it is still standing, it is not suitable for the 21st Century.

"It does need to be replaced - it has come to the end of its natural life. If we can't fund it any other way we will have to do it through a loan."

Planning permission for the work has already been approved, although archaeological investigations will have to be carried out before rebuilding starts.

The existing annexe has only one room, with a kitchen running the full length. Under the proposals, this will be demolished and replaced with a new building including separate kitchen and toilets and two meeting rooms, which can also be used as offices.

The town and parish councils are expected to give final approval to the loan plan within the next few weeks and work on the site could start before the end of the year.