WILTSHIRE Council has said it wants to secure a "long-term lease" for Salisbury City Hall. 

The council has been seeking a third-party organisation to help run the City Hall - which it has always said it remains committed to reopening as an entertainment venue - for many months. 

This is despite a repair bill to make the City Hall safe totalling around £2 million.  

The council recently engaged with potential providers in order to help it establish "the most positive and viable way forward for the venue".

In considering all the feedback the council received during this process, it says it is now looking at offering the venue to organisations on a long-term lease, stipulating that it remains as an entertainment venue.

Wiltshire Council will retain ownership of the venue.

Salisbury Journal: City HallCity Hall (Image: Wiltshire Council)

Wiltshire Council leader, Councillor Richard Clewer, said: “We’re pleased to have reached this stage of the process because, as we’ve stated all along, we are fully committed to reopening City Hall as a thriving entertainment venue and see it as key part of the city’s future.

“Following our recent procurement exercise and market engagement work it clearly emerged that looking to offer City Hall out on a long-term lease was the most suitable option and will give the venue the best possible chance of long-term success."

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The council is now in the process of seeking a market provider that will help support it to identify suitable organisations that could take on the lease, using their expertise to ensure City Hall is only taken on by the most suitably placed organisation to give it the very best opportunity to succeed in the long-term.

As City Hall has a status as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), the council has to inform the Local Planning Authority of the ‘intention to enter into a relevant disposal’ of the site when there are plans being considered to introduce a future lease is in excess of 25 years in length.

This is a technical and legal process that the council has to carry out, however it remains fully committed to reopening City Hall as an entertainment venue.

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Cllr Richard Clewer added: “If we secure an organisation to take on the venue we will remain as owners and ensure that the venue is retained as an entertainment venue, which will complement the overall cultural quarter vision we have for the city.

“There is still work to do before we can confirm any final arrangements, but we’re excited about the future and look forward to securing a provider through a rigorous process as soon as possible.”

More information on the City Hall can be found on the council website wiltshire.gov.uk