The future of a historic entertainments venue will be secured after Stroud District Council leaders approved a deal which will see it remain in public hands.
Stroud Subscription Rooms will be transferred from the district council to Stroud Town Council and Stroud Subscription Rooms Trust at the end of March, after a key committee voted in favour of the deal on Thursday, January 17.
“I am really pleased that this historic venue will stay in public hands after a lot of hard work and commitment between Stroud District Council, Stroud Town Council and Stroud Subscription Rooms Trust,” said Stroud District Council Leader Councillor Doina Cornell, who chairs the Strategy and Resources Committee.
“I wish the trust every success in its vision for the Sub Rooms and I would like to thank the venue’s dedicated staff who have kept it running as normal during a period of uncertainty for them.”
The freehold of the Subscription Rooms and forecourt will be transferred to Stroud Town Council for £1 after Stroud District Council Strategy and Resources Committee approved it.
The transfer is planned for March 28, and the Town Council and Stroud Subscription Rooms Trust will then have a lease agreement ready to complete simultaneously, to allow the Trust to start running the Sub Rooms from then.
“We’re already planning and really looking forward to getting started in the building when the transfer is complete,” said the Trust’s Kate Kay. “It’s a new era for the Sub Rooms and we have a lot of exciting ideas which we want as many people as possible to be involved in. We’re all really looking forward to starting a new chapter for the Subs, together with the people and communities in the District.”
Stroud Town Mayor Kevin Cranston said: “It is really good news that SDC recommended the deal as that is the last piece of the jigsaw falling into place to save the Subs for the public.
“After all the nitty gritty detailed work done by both councils officers to get to this stage we can look forward to the exciting bit as the Trust are able to start to put their plans into action.”
SDC Green group leader Councillor Martin Whiteside added: “The Sub Rooms is an iconic community resource that needs to be developed to continue to serve the people of Stroud district through this century.
“I congratulate the Stroud Subscription Rooms Trust for having the vision and commitment to take this on, and the Town and District Councils for making this happen. Well done and good luck into the future.”
SDC will pay up to £125,000 for repairs to the roof of the 185-year-old building and pay a one-off grant of £230,000 to the Trust on completion of the transfer. The Town Council has earmarked £83,000 for costs around the transfer and it has bought a new booking system for the Trust which is due to be up and running this month.
Stroud District Council will continue to take bookings until mid-March for events scheduled up to the end of July this year. From January to March Stroud Subscription Rooms Trust will start to transfer these bookings on to its own booking system and also take new bookings, mainly for August 2019 onwards.
The business and staff will be transferred direct to the Trust as well as fixtures and fittings valued at around £20,000.
The committee resolved to approve the final terms for the transfer of the freehold interest of the Sub Rooms and forecourt to Stroud Town Council and the transfer of the business including staff to Stroud Subscription Rooms Trust by March 28, 2019.
Councillor Ken Tucker, leader of SDC’s Liberal Democrat Group said: “I am delighted that after much hard work between the various parties involved, that the transfer of the Sub Rooms from SDC to Stroud Town Council and the Stroud Subscription Rooms Trust has now been concluded. I wish them well in their new adventure and look forward to seeing the proposed improvements and enjoy attending events there.”