Stroud Town Council is calling for the Subscription Rooms to remain in public ownership.
Following overwhelming response from the public to keep the Sub Rooms in community ownership, the Council has worked with Stroud Trust to put together a viable bid to take over the venue.
It is proposing that the District Council transfers over the freehold of the Sub Rooms so that the Town Council can ensure the important cultural asset remains in public ownership.
The Sub Rooms would then be leased to Stroud Trust, which the Town Council has been working with to develop a business plan for the venue which will lead to a significant investment in the building funded by grants, crowdfunding and trading income.
The Town Council has agreed to contribute £50,000 from its reserves to help cover set up costs to ensure that the Sub Rooms becomes a better used, successful venue which contributes significantly to the local economy.
In a Stroud News & Journal poll, 55.3 per cent of the 271 ballots cast voting for the Sub Rooms to be retained by the district council, 32.5 per cent for it to be taken over by the community and 12.2 per cent for the arts and entertainment centre to be sold off.
In the Town Council’s research, 66 out of 67 respondents wanted it retained as a community venue.
“The Town Council firmly believes that the best way to safeguard the future of this much loved community resource is for it to remain in community ownership,” said Town Mayor Kevin Cranston.
“The Stroud Trust is constituted by a group of people who have all proven their worth in their professional fields and who came together because of their attachment to the Stroud area to work on a project in the best interests of the community.
“They are committing to a long-term plan with no private interests involved and the Town Council believes they provide the best option for the future of the Sub Rooms,” he said.
The Arts Council has awarded a grant of £14,750 to the Town Council to develop an arts and culture strategy for Stroud.
“We need to be very co-ordinated and strategic in our approach to make sure we support the arts, but also get good value for money,” said Councillor Cranston.
“The Sub Rooms is an important asset to Stroud. We, as a Town Council, focused our efforts on ensuring that it remains so. We are committed to working with all interested parties and potential user groups and continue to consult widely to ensure that it becomes a thriving community resource.
“The Council decided to support the Trust, because they are a dynamic and very experienced group with the right skills to take the Subs forward to a secure future.”
Stroud District Council, which owns the Sub Rooms and is carrying out a review of the venue, will be holding a public consultation at the Sub Rooms on 18 November from 9.30am to 1pm. The final decision will be made by their Strategy and Resources Committee on 5th December.
The Stroud Trust team is made up of Jess McQuail, CEO of an NGO and lead on the Stroud Outdoor Pool/Lido Feasibility Study Project Team; Julie Ellison, a consultant and lecturer in social enterprise; Julie Howe, a brand and design consultant and co-director of Stroud Fringe; John Bloxsom, town councillor and company director; Lucy Vincent, a communications consultant; and Andy Woods, who is founding director of the Gloucester Guildhall and Artrix, Bromsgrove.