Costs revealed for Armstrong Hall options

February 26 2018

REBUILDING the Armstrong Hall on its current site will cost £4.9 million compared to an estimated £2.85 million for refurbishment of the premises.

REBUILDING the Armstrong Hall on its current site will cost £4.9 million compared to an estimated £2.85 million for refurbishment of the premises.

The figures were released by Thornbury Town Council as it launched further consultation on the future of the community facility and ahead of a promised public meeting on March 1.

The hall has been the town’s main performance venue for many years but is in desperate need of an upgrade.

Local people, including the many users of the complex, were angry when only two options were put forward as ways of tackling the problem.

One involved renovating and extending the hall while the second would see a large hall extension built onto the Turnberries community building in Bath Road to create a performance area with stage, changing rooms and extra community meeting space. 

Under the second option, the Armstrong Hall site would be sold for redevelopment, with the proceeds used to part-fund the Turnberries’ extension.

In response to the public outcry, the third proposal of a complete rebuild was added, to include retention of the historic Cossham Hall and accommodating the town museum, while having a bigger and more flexible hall, improved performance space and extra capacity. 

All proposals have now gone back out for consultation, with comments accepted up to March 9.

When local people were originally asked for their opinions, hundreds responded and 75 per cent of them said they preferred facilities to remain in the current location in Chapel Street.

They also asked for a public meeting to debate the options and that is taking place in the Cossham Hall at 7.30pm on Thursday, March 1.

Under the Turnberries option, owner South Gloucestershire Council said it would offer a 50 year lease in return for £4 million of investment into the site, with further negotiations about managing and operating the facility to take place.

Town mayor Helen Harrison, who is also chairwoman of the Armstrong Hall Trust, said after considering that offer, together with further information about the design and costs of all options: “The trustees and councillors now favour retaining and improving the Armstrong Hall facilities on the current site.” 

Information displays can be viewed in the town hall and Armstrong Hall during the consultation and a drop-in session will be held on Saturday, February 24, from 10am-1pm in the St Mary’s Centre.

A decision on which option to progress is anticipated to be taken on March 20.