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Timetable set for deal to keep Sub Rooms in public hands

Published: Thursday, 10 January, 2019

Everything is in place to ensure Stroud Subscription Rooms remains in public hands, with a key decision expected to be made next week to ensure a transfer is completed.

Stroud District Council, Stroud Town Council, and Stroud Subscription Rooms Trust, have been working hard together to make sure a deal is done on the Stroud town centre entertainments venue by March 28 as planned.

If SDC Strategy and Resources Committee approves it on Thursday, January 17, the freehold of the Subscription Rooms and forecourt will be transferred to Stroud Town Council for £1.

The Town Council and Stroud Subscription Rooms Trust will then have a lease agreement ready to complete simultaneously, to allow the Trust to start running the Sub Rooms on April 1.

"We know the Sub Rooms is a building close to many people’s hearts and all three parties have spent a lot of time and effort in coming up with a deal which all concerned are happy with," said SDC Leader, and committee chair Doina Cornell.

"This transfer will ensure the building and forecourt remain in public ownership and I wish the trust well in running it successfully for the community for many years to come.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Sub Rooms staff for working so hard to keep the venue running during a period of some uncertainty."

Significant progress has been made between all three parties with all legal agreements approved, and subject to final terms approved by Strategy and Resources Committee, contracts can be exchanged and completed by March 28. 

Stroud Town mayor Kevin Cranston said:

"The Town Council welcomes this deal which is the result of a lot of hard work by officers of both councils and the willing volunteers of the Trust.

"It is a great deal for everyone. The Subs stays in public ownership, SDC avoids the ongoing costs of running the building, the Subs staff have secure jobs and there is an imaginative refurbishment planned with an exciting programme of events with something for everyone in prospect."

Hugh Phillimore and Alex Cowan, joint chairs of the Trust, said:

"The Subs enters an exciting new era and there is much to be done to ensure this venue is viable and remains at the heart of the community. The Trust cannot do this without community support and we look forward to the future."

As part of the transfer agreement, SDC will pay up to £125,000 for repairs to the roof of the 185-year-old building and pay a one-off grant of £230,000 to the Trust on completion of the transfer. The Town Council has earmarked £83,000 for costs around the transfer.

Stroud Town Council has purchased a new booking system for the Trust which is due to be up and running this month.

Stroud District Council will take bookings until mid-March for events scheduled up to the end of July this year. From January to March the Trust will start to transfer these bookings on to their own booking system and take new bookings, mainly for August 2019 onwards.

The business and staff will be transferred direct to the Trust as well as fixtures and fittings valued at around £20,000.

On January 17, Stroud District Council’s Strategy and Resources Committee is expected to consider resolving to approve the final terms for the transfer of the freehold interest of the Sub Rooms and forecourt to Stroud Town Council and the transfer of the business including staff to Stroud Subscription Rooms Trust by March 28, 2019.

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