CITY Hall will lose its status as an Asset of Community Value (ACV) as Wiltshire Council plans to lease it out for more than 25 years.

The entertainment venue, in Malthouse Lane, gained ACV status on February 15, 2021, following a successful application from Salisbury City Council.

But now, Wiltshire Council has notified the city council of its intention to dispose of the site as it seeks to secure a long-term leaseholder.

An interim moratorium on the sale of City Hall is in place until February 20, 2024, and until then community interest groups have the opportunity to request to be treated as potential bidders.

Read more: Wiltshire Council criticised for not repairing Salisbury City Hall

If Wiltshire Council receives a request from a group that wants to buy the asset, a six-month 'full moratorium' period will be triggered to allow the group time to raise funding to put together a credible bid to buy it

This means no sale could take place before July 9.

Salisbury Journal: Salisbury City Hall has been closed since the NHS left January, 2023.Salisbury City Hall has been closed since the NHS left January, 2023. (Image: Newsquest)

If no request is received before February 20, Wiltshire Council is free to dispose of City Hall without any further moratoria until July 9, 2025.

However, if Wiltshire Council does receive a bid it is under no legal obligation to accept it.

The pause is purely intended to allow community groups time to organise themselves and increase the chance of a successful offer being made.

Wiltshire Council previously said the disposal is a "technical and legal process that the council has to carry out" but it remains "fully committed" to reopening City Hall as an entertainment venue.

The formal declaration of the relevant disposal of City Hall will be discussed by Salisbury City Council at its full council meeting on Monday, January 22.

What is an Asset of Community Value?

ACVs are buildings or pieces of land that benefit the social well-being or interests of the local community. These can range from pubs to libraries and music venues.

To be listed as an ACV, the building must be nominated by an organisation with a local connection, Salisbury City Council in this case.

It must meet certain criteria which state the use of the building currently, or in the recent past, furthers the social well-being or interests of the local community.

The use of the building must continue to further the social well-being of the local community and meeting the interests of the community must be the main purpose of the building.

See more: Salisbury City Hall: Petition calls for venue to be reopened

The council's ultimate goal is to find a long-term leaseholder to run City Hall and Councillor Richard Clewer said this was "the most suitable option".

Wiltshire Council would remain the owner of the site to ensure it is retained as an entertainment value, he added.

Salisbury Journal: Councillor Richard Clewer, leader of Wiltshire Council.Councillor Richard Clewer, leader of Wiltshire Council. (Image: Wiltshire Council)

Cllr 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."