Guildhall Meeting – Monday 26th February

February 25, 2018

There will be a meeting of the Town Council Finance and General Purposes Committee on Monday 26th February at 7pm – probably in the Council Chamber.

They have a very long agenda, most of it about the Guildhall. It includes about 50 pages of minutes from the two meetings where the public asked questions about the Guildhall. Some of the questions now have answers in the agenda.

The meeting will not be in the Roysse Room as there are problems with the chimney. A protective barrier has been put round it as some pieces have fallen down, and so a survey is needed to check it’s safety. The council don’t want the chimney falling through the roof with people inside.
The chimney was not there when the Roysse Room was part of Abingdon School. It must have been added when the Abingdon Borough Council took it over in the alterations made by Arthur Preston. (1872 Image © William H Hooke. All Rights Reserved).
Other work is progressing well. The ramp has been removed from the back of the Abbey Hall.

From discussion with the County and District Council on the potential for a community hub in, or instead of, the Abbey Hall, there is a provisional timescale:
Summer 2018 – consider options
Spring 2019 – feasibility study,
Autumn 2019 – planning application
Spring / Summer 2010 – building work starts. Completion depends on the amount of work involved.

The meeting will also consider the proposal by the Regal Evesham to show films at the Abbey Hall in the short term, and other short term options. Short term could be 1 or 2 years.

Then there is a report by Ridge the architects about the state of the Abbey Hall and the feasibility of bringing it back into use in the short term, and what works will need doing and their costs.

The agenda for the meeting, and one later in the week for the Guildhall Committee, can be on the Town Council website.

Filed under: Guildhall

10 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. Peter Del  |  February 25, 2018 at 12:08 am

    Thanks Alastair for keeping us abreast of the council’s machinations.

  • 2. Deedee  |  February 25, 2018 at 10:42 am

    The owner of my favourite watering hole tells me the meeting will also include the answers to questions asked by members of the BID at the last meeting,
    He says they’re expecting to find out why the BID outsource company won’t produce a set of accounts and why the BID directors will not accept more members?
    Should be interesting!

  • 3. John  |  February 25, 2018 at 10:52 am

    Best wishes, good luck and prayers for the councillors as they face these difficult challenges. I’m grateful it isn’t me that has to make the decisions.

  • 4. Deedee  |  February 25, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    Hmm, don’t give them too much sympathy John, remember the old saying “if you can’t stand the heat stay out of the kitchen “?
    Also, it’s worth remembering none of this is rocket science and while I appreciate councils are strapped for cash they’re still advertising jobs with final salary pensions, paying the c e o 4 x more than the political leader ( barber v stone) and taking over 30% of our council tax payments to prop up the ever growing staff pension pot!
    Time has come to put a stop to all that nonsense, job sharing that costs US twice as much, free car parking jams all the other unaffordable perks officers get ! Oops !!

  • 5. davidofLuton  |  February 25, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    Given that two of the things under discussion – the guildhall and the BID, are likely to attract observers from the public, is moving the meeting to the even smaller Roysse Room the right move? I know the Roysse Room is out of commission, but there must be other venues around. Even hire out the King Charles Room (or whatever it is called) in the KHB.

  • 6. newcomer  |  February 25, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    I suspect, davidoflLuton, it’s been moved to the smaller Council Chamber, from the larger Roysse Room, because the council feels there might be a high level of interest in the agenda and they’d like to keep the meeting ’special’ and ‘intimate’.

  • 7. Jim  |  February 25, 2018 at 10:27 pm

    Re comment 6 : As Backstreeter’s blog reports the Roysse Room is closed due to concerns about the stability of the chimney – which is why the meeting has been moved. I believe the two rooms are of a similar size – though given the public interest in the future of the Abbey Hall it may be wise to arrive a little early if you want a seat…..

  • 8. Iain  |  February 25, 2018 at 10:57 pm

    Council chamber is bigger than the roysse room. The change of room sounds to me like a genuine issue rather than anything untoward

  • 9. Hester  |  February 26, 2018 at 12:06 am

    Deedee, re your post 4, can I remind you that these decisions are for the Town Council, who don’t have a Chief Executive or masses of officers!

  • 10. Deedee  |  February 26, 2018 at 8:53 am

    Of course you can Hester – but I’m well aware of that and as much as our superb town council operates without a C E O and/or an army of officers, they are feed from the same trough the tax payer supplies, like any other “business” the more that’s taken at the top of the tree, so less trickles down to the bottom and isn’t the guildhall a classic example of this ?
    The district council could no longer afford to run the place because its operating fund after costs and overheads was, despite at the time regular council tax rises, diminishing.
    Rather than look at it’s business model it began to offload its assets (the family silver) one by one what should have been rock solid investments for us the tax payer have instead been frittered away with little or no benefit to us.
    Old Gaol, Tylsey Park, Guild Hall, Upper Reaches, Old Abbey House, all valuable assets that have been lost from us, but for what?
    The other week I read how Cherwell DC have bought back Banbury shopping precinct from Aberdeen asset so as to give them more control over the area, by contrast our DC have given our precinct over to the same outfit for 150 year on a deal that AA immediately renegade on!

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