WITH the future of the city hall still precariously hanging in the balance, one former city councillor is prepared to fight to protect it.

Local author and historian, Frogg Moody attended the Area Board Meeting at the Five Rivers Leisure Centre last week, Thursday, June 15, where the future of the City Hall was discussed.

It was confirmed by the Director of Leisure, Culture and Communities, David Redfern that it could cost £2m to repair the building. 

It had been hoped that an external company might take on the 61-year-old entertainment venue in Malthouse Lane, but now alternate options need to be considered. 

Coincidentally, the meeting was held on the 60th anniversary of when The Beatles performed at the venue.

Salisbury Journal: Old photo of Salisbury City Hall

Frogg said: “I don’t think they (Wiltshire Council) are thinking about or considering the people of Salisbury in these decisions.

“The name of the game for me is trying to preserve the building. They might be right that the building is tired but look what Everyman Cinema has done to the Old Regal Cinema in Endless Street.”

Following its purchase by the City Council in 1961, it became a multi-purpose entertainment venue and a war memorial, this was in memory of the men and women who served but lost their lives in World War 11. 

Salisbury Journal: Old photo of the City Hall

It was originally, built as a cinema when the picture house in the building next to it became a drill hall, then, the Arts Theatre, and the Playhouse prior to the new one being built.

Having spent years researching the history of Salisbury, Frogg admitted he had concerns that the building could be demolished.  

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Frogg added, “The City Hall came close to being demolished in the 1980s and they were going to move the City Hall to the site of the Five Rivers.”

The venue is ideally located for visitors to Salisbury with the central car park and the railway station close by and, was once a successful venue for bands and acts performing at the venue.

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Frogg performed at the venue himself in the past.

He said: “For bands, this equates to going up a notch. Salisbury Operatic Society has been going there for years. The venue is big enough to hold more than 1,000 people and it is a facility that could have much more upstairs.”

The building has not been an entertainment or cultural venue since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. Instead, it was used successfully for a vaccination programme, which finished in March 2023.

With costs of £2 million for repairs, discussions are in place about a new venue that might include the city library.