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Gloucestershire Business News

New-look music venue for Stroud unveiled

Negotiations might be ongoing over the transfer of ownership of Stroud Subscription Rooms, but plans for the new-look layout are already being unveiled.

News has only just broken that the deal to transfer ownership of the much-loved but rather tired venue from the district to the town council for a nominal £1 is yet to be finalised.

Following the most recent meeting the deadline for negotiations has now been extended to March 31 next year.

All of which comes on the eve of Saturday's official grand reveal of how interested parties hope the historic building will look post-redesign.

Kevin Cranston, Stroud Town Mayor, reminded us the drawings from Bristol-based Childs & Sulzmann are only proposals: "Nothing is in stone. We want feedback from the community so that we can ensure the improvements make the Subs fit for purpose and turn it into a dynamic and thriving arts and community venue."

The proposals include replacing the tourist information office with a new box office, bar and café, improving the access ramp and renovation of the George Room to become a multi-use venue with retractable cinema seating.

The second phase would include converting the kitchen and interim space to form larger female toilets, creating a fully accessible disabled toilet with adult changing table, relocating the kitchen to the new café, convert the male toilets and creating a circular access around the staircase.

The phase would also include redesigning the Kendrick bar on the first floor so that it can serve more people at any one time and retractable seating in the ballroom.

Any work will need to be agreed by the councils and depends on the deal being done to keep the rooms in public ownership - and run by the Stroud Subscription Rooms Trust.

The district council will then be free of the £230,000 a year running costs for the 184-year-old building, but not free of its obligations.

It will need to give a £230,000 one-off grant towards operating costs for 2019/20, up to £125,000 to repair the roof and £20,000 towards fixtures and fittings.

According to the district council "significant progress has been made between itself and the town council.

"Legal agreements have been drafted and substantially agreed and Stroud Subscription Rooms Trust is awaiting registration from the Charities Commission," said a spokesman.

In March Stroud Town Council launched a campaign to raise £100,000 in pledges to carry out improvements to the Sub Rooms. Nearly £50,000 was pledged.

People are now being asked to honour those pledges.

Donations can be made via cheque (made payable to Stroud Town Council) and dropped off at the Town Council offices or sent via post. All cheques and cash must be accompanied by a donation form. Work is afoot on a facility for online donations.

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