New hall for Thornbury set to create “exciting” legacy

April 30 2018

FURTHER work will be needed in the next year to pursue the rebuilding of Thornbury’s Armstrong Hall to create “a wonderful legacy” for the town.

Public support for a new hall on the current site in Chapel Street led the Armstrong Hall Trust - whose sole managing trustee at present is Thornbury Town Council - to support the proposal.

Community consultation on three options saw 80 per cent (285) of those responding back a rebuild.

A further 18 per cent (62) supported refurbishment of the hall but only four people thought it should be relocated to an extended Turnberries community centre in Bath Road.

 Five people either didn’t know, didn’t support any of the three options or came up with another idea.

The hall is in desperate need of an upgrade if it is to remain the town’s main performance venue.

A rebuild has been estimated at £4.9 million, while refurbishment would cost £2.85 million.

Although the option for Turnberries would involve building a large extension, there were concerns about insufficient space being available for performances.

Relocation would also involve selling the Armstrong Hall site for redevelopment to help fund the work at Turnberries, which is owned by South Gloucestershire Council.

The 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.

Councillor Clive Parkinson, chairman of the Armstrong Hall redevelopment group, said: “On balance, the Armstrong Hall Trust believes that at this time the new build option is the preferred route to take forward. This is also the clear preferred option of the Thornbury public in their response to the consultations.

“The consultations have thrown up many questions and suggestions and the trust will consider all of these as it takes the project forward.

“The trust also wants to encourage individuals who have experience or expertise in such a project to join the working group and help the town develop an exciting and appropriate successor to the existing Armstrong Hall that has served the town so well.”

Further work will now be done on design, facilities, governance and financing before final decisions are made and work commissioned.

Thornbury mayor Helen Harrison said the council had made a decision knowing it had the public’s support.

She said: “We hope the public will get involved in this exciting project for Thornbury and create a wonderful legacy for the town.”