22 April 2024

“Stop the nonsense and just get on with it,” says local councillor about Salisbury City Hall

A group of prominent Salisbury residents including local councillors, such as Cllr Paul Sample, are currently initiating a campaign to reopen the City Hall.

Paul Sample has most keenly expressed his desire to reopen the city hall. He argues that it’s time for the “council to wake up and smell the coffee”. The city is losing out on millions of pounds of revenue from a venue that could bring thousands of people to the area to stimulate the economy, “we can’t lose that revenue”.

Sample exclaimed, “reopen City Hall now! Not tomorrow, not next week, now! You could come down with the keys Monday morning and it could be open. Stop the nonsense and just get on with it”.

“The longer it is closed the more money it will cost to fix. No one believes the council is going to find £20 million to build a whole new building”.

He added its not just “the fact that it is important to the community its the fact that people have grown up with the city hall”.

Wiltshire council took the hall over 10 years ago and since just before covid it has been closed completely, as Sample expressed “people have gone without their hit of culture”. The City Hall welcomes a “powerful and vibrant, joyful and happy audience”.

He continued by exploring the ways in which you can help support the campaign saying, “thousands of people agree with me and they will make their voices known”.

Those interested are encouraged to head to the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/reopensalisburycityhallnow, join and add their stories of the City Hall. There is also a petition at https://www.change.org/p/re-open-salisbury-city-hall-now that is available to sign. There is a poster doing the rounds which you can find on the Facebook page. Share it on Twitter Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

There will also be public demonstrations this summer and people will know well in advance when this happens.

He concluded with, “its all down to you as individuals. We are going to save it, we are not going to take no from County Hall”.

At a recent area board meeting it has been revealed Wiltshire Council are currently looking into bringing together the City Hall, the library and perhaps a gallery under one roof.

Frogg Moody argues that the efforts of the Wiltshire Council should be more so focused on regenerating the City Hall as it would be “cheaper” than rebuilding.

The City Hall holds up to 1,600 making it one of the biggest entertainment venues in Wiltshire. Moody said, “as Salisbury is expanding many surrounding villages look to Salisbury”, to have the City Hall up and running again would be a huge “asset” to the community.

Having enquired to the council of the state of the City Hall, Cllr Richard Clewer said he had a report stating the roof could fall down if any live music is played.

Moody says it is best we “keep the pressure up now, because we want answers. That’s the biggest thing, we want answers”. Many people feel left out the picture regarding the City Hall and at the moment it is just a case of waiting for the council to respond with the report before the campaign can be further pursued.

Moody further expressed an interest in young people being involved in the City Hall. “The youth are the future of Salisbury,” they should be able to say what they want from the town and be able to engage properly in their community.

He believes if young bands were to perform there it would truly bring the community together and help teach young performers valuable life skills. It’s not just the playing that’s fun, it also teaches them “promotional skills” and helps to showcase their talent.

When asked if he could envision a panel of young people being involved in the redevelopment to the city hall he said, “that would be in the best interest of everyone.”

Although it is clear the City Hall will not open for at least a few years, Moody remained optimistic of its future, “there’s a long way to go but we’ve got some good people on board and lets see where the journey takes us”.

“If they [the council] are adamant they are going to close the library and the city hall, then it depends how the surrounding area will respond. I think it would be an active campaign, it will get political” concluded Moody.

Written by
Niamh Cunningham
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Written by Niamh Cunningham