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Council looking at options to invest millions into City Hall to provide a first-class entertainment venue for Salisbury

Wiltshire Council is looking at its options to significantly invest in Salisbury by redeveloping Salisbury City Hall as a revitalised entertainment and cultural venue.

Published 18 May 2023
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Wiltshire Council is looking at its options to significantly invest in Salisbury by redeveloping Salisbury City Hall as a revitalised entertainment and cultural venue.

The council is investigating different funding options which could see the existing City Hall building completely redeveloped into a modern entertainment venue, which would bring with it wider economic benefits to Salisbury and the surrounding areas, while complementing the city's existing and emerging cultural offer.  

Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council, made the announcement at his latest Ask the Leader session, which took place on Wednesday evening (17 May) at Bourne Hill.

The council has been carrying out repair surveys on the existing City Hall building to find out how much it would cost to get it into a fit state to reopen. However, because the cost of the repairs would be over £2m to simply make the building useable rather than improve the overall quality of experience for a visitor to the venue, the council has been looking into other options to do more.

Being able to make a significant investment would also provide the option to consider moving the city's library and Young Gallery into the redeveloped City Hall. The current library will need around £1m of repairs and it may be a sensible option to embed it as part of the new City Hall project, given it wouldn't need to close while that site is being worked on. The council is committed to developing an innovative library service in the city in a building fit for the future. However, no final decisions have been made regarding the library and all stakeholders will be kept up to date.

The council is still looking to work with a third party to help bring its City Hall vision to life and operate the venue, and will now continue to develop a comprehensive project plan.

Cllr Richard Clewer said: The subject of the future of City Hall is regularly brought up in meetings I go to in the city or when I'm out and about, and it's abundantly clear people are passionate about it, as am I.

We've always had ambitions to not simply reopen City Hall as it was but to do so much more with a venue that has such potential, which is why we bid for Levelling Up Funding. However, we are now looking at other funding sources to broaden the scope of what we can do and our aim is a brand new venue the city can be proud of, which will not only add to the cultural offer but also drive economic growth and regeneration.

These plans are at a very early stage, but we are determined to bring a first-class entertainment venue to the city by reopening City Hall and delivering our commitment to a cultural quarter.

We will now comprehensively develop our vision and will keep people up-to-date on our plans, but the community can be assured this is a top priority for me and I'm determined to see it through.

Any formal plans will be subject to relevant planning and development processes.  

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