Armstrong Hall complex to close indefinitely with five jobs lost due to coronavirus impact
THORNBURY’S Armstrong Hall will stay closed for the foreseeable future due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis.
The Armstrong Hall Trust, the charity which runs the Armstrong and Cossham halls in Chapel Street, said the “severe negative financial impact” of the coronavirus pandemic and the “lack of further options for external funding” meant that the complex could not be run without a significant financial deficit.
The complex closed in March as the lockdown was introduced and the trust started a review of future funding.
Many regular users said they would not be able to resume long-term bookings and some redevelopment finding was withdrawn.
The trust issued a statement, which said: “It is with great regret that the Armstrong Hall Trust is announcing that they have taken the decision that they are unable to reopen the Armstrong Hall Complex in the near future.
“Despite a significant grant from Thornbury Town Council and a Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant from South Gloucestershire Council, there has been a severe negative financial impact on the bookings income and there is a lack of further options for external funding.
“Even if allowed to operate again this year, some users had already advised the Hall that they did not plan to return for the foreseeable future due to vulnerable users or social distancing making their usual bookings impossible to take place. The Trust has also been advised that some of the redevelopment funding that was part of their plans has now closed and consequently costly and disruptive maintenance works will now need to be undertaken to the existing buildings.”
The Trust said that as a charity it could not allow the complex to be run at a deficit, adding: “The Trust have therefore come to the conclusion that regretfully they cannot afford to reopen the Hall for the foreseeable future, and they cannot continue to employ the staff.”
The trust said five people’s jobs had been made redundant, three of them part-time, with one job saved by being redeployed to the town council.
Armstrong Hall Trust chair and Thornbury mayor Jayne Stansfield said: “Unfortunately the trust could not have predicted this pandemic and have found ourselves in a difficult situation, with limited options.
“The trust would like to thank the staff and our customers for their commitment and loyalty and would like to express our deep regret with the route we have had no choice but to take.”
People with outstanding bookings are being contacted and the trust has formed a working group to look at options for the way forward.
Redevelopment working group chair Clive Parkinson said: “It is important for the future of Thornbury that as the town grows it has the community facilities to enable it to thrive.
“The Armstrong Hall Trust will continue to investigate all possible options to create a venue that is suitable for the deserving community.
“We will continue with great effort; despite the hard and difficult climate we have all found ourselves in as a result of the pandemic.”