20 July 2024

Local expertise come together to discuss City Hall future

A group of people have met to discuss Salisbury’s City Hall and options for the building if Wiltshire Council’s options fail.

A call for people experienced in the entertainment and venue management industries was put out, and a range of people with vast amounts of knowledge and experience answered the call.

The group of people from across Salisbury met to consider how they can help to ensure that the voices and talents of people in the City can best be heard in the current exercise by Wiltshire Council to find a commercial operator to run City Hall.

“We are very fortunate in the talents of people living in the City”, said Anne Trevett, Chair of Safer and Supportive Salisbury CIO, who helped convene the meeting.

“Every single person involved is a Salisbury resident: it includes people with very considerable experience in the entertainment and music industry locally, nationally and even internationally, and cross-party representatives from both Wiltshire Councillors and City Councillors, in addition to people representing Salisbury’s vibrant community groups, business expertise and the Civic Society.

“Several have been active in running community-led venues, one member has a
national role in helping local authorities develop their commercial activities.”

Wiltshire Council is inviting applications from people interested in running City Hall as an entertainment venue.

At this stage, the new group, calling itself Friends of Salisbury’s City Hall, is not planning to bid to run City Hall but wants to work with anyone and everyone involved in this process to help reflect the passionate views of Salisbury residents and to contribute to the commercial success of City Hall as well as giving space to grassroots community events and activities.

“We share the Council’s hope that a successful commercial operator will come forward”, said Cllr Jeremy Nettle, who chaired the first meeting of the group, “and we stand ready to support the Council in any way we can relating to our community to achieve their objects.

“But if the market exercise fails, we shall be looking to see if we can intervene more directly. After all, we have the recent experience in the City of a community group converting St John’s Church in Lower Bemerton to a very successful community centre that has achieved national recognition.

“We all went to see our City Hall return to being a centre for creative and community activities at the heart of the City.”

Written by
Andy Munns
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Written by Andy Munns