Community leaders have officially sealed a deal which will keep Stroud’s iconic arts and entertainments venue in public ownership.
Stroud District Council handed over Stroud Subscription Rooms to new owners and operators today, marking an historic moment for the landmark building.
Stroud District Council has transferred the building to Stroud Town Council and the business and staff to the Stroud Subscription Rooms Trust.
The Town Council and Trust have also simultaneously completed a lease agreement, to allow the Trust to start running the Sub Rooms.
“This is an historic moment for Stroud, as after a lot of consultation, negotiation and hard work by officers and councillors from both councils and the Trustees, Stroud Subscription Rooms will remain a publicly owned asset at the heart of the community,” said Stroud District Council Leader Doina Cornell (Lab), Green group leader Martin Whiteside and Liberal Democrat Group leader Ken Tucker in a joint statement.
“We would like to thank our staff who have carried on as normal during what has been a period of some uncertainty for them, and I wish them, the Trust and the Town Council every success for the future.”
In October this year the building will celebrate its 185th birthday, and SDC is investing up to £125,000 in to roof repairs plus giving a one-off grant of £230,000 to help the Trust get off to a sound start.
The Town Council has earmarked £83,000 for costs around the transfer and new equipment.
The business and staff have been transferred direct to the Trust as well as fixtures and fittings valued at around £20,000.
Applications for Listed Building and Planning consent have been submitted – search for applications S.19/0614/LBC and S.19/0613/FUL on the SDC Planning website.
Work is due to start in August on the first phase of improvement works starting with a new bar and café on the ground floor with a new kitchen, a more accessible bar upstairs and an improved access ramp.
Future phases will include: retractable seating in the Ballroom; a multi-use space with retractable cinema seating in the George Room; improved toilets, including a fully accessible disabled toilet with adult changing facilities; a new cellar; and improved circulation around the stairs.
Stroud Town mayor Kevin Cranston said: “In March 2018 we launched a campaign asking people to pledge money to carry out improvements to the Sub Rooms. Nearly £50,000 was pledged and donations have already exceeded £24,000. We now need people to honour those pledges so that the works can go ahead.”
Hugh Phillimore and Alex Cowan, joint chairs of the Trust, said: “We are looking forward to a new and exciting future at the Subs, with a wide programme of events. For upcoming events please visit our brand new website www.thesubrooms.co.uk.”
Artist impressions showing exciting plans for the refurbishment of the building: