Question mark over Armstrong Hall as Turnberries is favoured

February 02 2021
Question mark over Armstrong Hall as Turnberries is favoured

THORNBURY'S Turnberries Community Centre could host facilities originally planned for the closed Armstrong Hall.

South Gloucestershire Council, the Armstrong Hall Trust and the Turnberries' trustees have said they will "jointly explore the opportunities to provide facilities that have previously been delivered from the Armstrong Hall complex".

It leaves a question mark over the long-term future of the Armstrong Hall and Cossham Hall, in Chapel Street.

During the first national lockdown, the Armstrong Hall Trust announced that it would be "unable to reopen the Armstrong Hall Complex in the near future" due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Five jobs were lost, after a review of funding examined the “severe negative financial impact” of the pandemic and found a lack of further options for external funding.

An announcement from South Gloucestershire Council said the trustees had been advised that the financial impact of COVID-19 had "significantly reduced the likelihood of raising the £5 million for the redevelopment option at the Armstrong Hall complex that was approved 3 years ago", adding: "The Trust has therefore been exploring other options for delivering these community facilities for Thornbury."

South Gloucestershire, which owns the Turnberries (pictured above), is working with both sets of trustees and Thornbury Town Council to "find ways to work together to provide space for community groups and activities for the future".

South Glos cabinet member for corporate resources Ben Burton said: “The council welcomes the decisions by the trustees of both centres to explore joint working.

"We believe it will be worth the effort if the discussions are able to result in an improved range of facilities for Thornbury. We don’t underestimate the complexities of such a project, but we will do everything possible to support this development.”

Thornbury mayor Jayne Stansfield, who is also chair of the Armstrong Hall Trust, said: “We know how much the community values the Armstrong Hall, but we feel it is important for the future of Thornbury that, as the town grows, it has the community facilities to enable it to thrive.

"We will continue to investigate all possible options to create a venue that is suitable for the community, and that of developing Turnberries is one that seems most likely to succeed in the current financial situation."

A spokesperson for Thornbury Community Building Trust, which operates Turnberries, said: "As an existing thriving and financially viable centre, we welcome the opportunity to discuss how we can continue to develop to ensure the people of Thornbury have access to high quality community facilities that meet both our needs and the needs of the whole community."

Discussions will continue in the coming weeks, with options being shared with the community as soon as possible.