Stroud District Council to debate Subscription Rooms offer to Stroud Town Council
Published: Thursday, 5 April, 2018
Stroud District Council is set to offer Stroud Town Council a chance to take on an iconic town centre venue and keep it in public hands.
Stroud Subscription Rooms could be transferred to the town council if the district council resolves to enter negotiations over the 184-year-old venue.
In December 2017 district councillors turned down an offer from Ecotricity to buy it for £300,000 because they wanted to retain it in public ownership. Fresh bids were invited for public arts, community and entertainment use.
However no bids for a 30 year lease were received for the venue as marketed and Stroud Town Council made a proposal for a process leading to a lease.
The town council has asked the district council for a 39 year lease at £1 per year, plus a grant of £230,000 to an independent charitable trust which would run it, and for £156,000-worth of structural repairs to be carried out.
Under the town council’s proposal, due to the suggested 12 month timescale for completion of a lease Stroud District Council would have to subsidise the Subscription Rooms for the next financial year, which is budgeted at £227,000. The town council would contribute £50,000 of working capital and meet the insurance premium for the property.
When Stroud District Council Strategy and Resources Committee meets on April 12, members will be asked to approve a resolution which would see negotiations start between Stroud District Council and Stroud Town Council.
The proposal includes the forecourt in front of the Subscription Rooms.
Stroud District Council Leader Doina Cornell said:
"When we launched the review of the Subscription Rooms at the end of 2016 against the backdrop of severe financial cuts to local government funding, we knew it would always be a tough call - as the last few months have proved, with passions running high about the best deal for the Subs.
"A huge amount of effort has been put into this process by district and town councillors, council officers and the local community, and I hope the report coming to the committee will be the starting point for us to reach a consensus that will preserve the long term future of the Subs as a public arts facility."