“Labour Listens” - a statement on the Subscription Rooms for and on behalf of Stroud District Council's Labour Councillors
The Labour group on Stroud District Council has unanimously decided to recommend that the Subscription Rooms in Stroud remain in public ownership.
Following representations from Stroud residents, the Labour group of district councillors wants to see the review process paused to allow the community further time to come up with a suitable offer.
Council Leader Steve Lydon said. ‘We’ve listened to people’s concerns, and have withdrawn the option of selling the Subs rooms. Instead we will be inviting the existing bidders and other interested groups to come forward with a suitable bid to lease the building. In these hard times of austerity, the council still needs to make savings, and this will have to be part of any solution. We hope that our proposal will be supported by other political parties on 5th December.’
The Labour group recognised the hard work that has been done so far by the all party task and finish group charged with conducting the review over the last year, as well as the time and continued effort by staff at the Sub Rooms. The group was also grateful to the Stroud Town Council / Town Trust and Ecotricity for submitting their bids for the freehold of the Subs.
The new proposal to be brought to the Strategy & Resources Committee on December 5 is as follows:
1. That the Council do not accept either external bid considered by the Task and Finish Group
2. To enable the Subscription Rooms:
(i) to be retained in public ownership; (ii) ensure that the level of Council subsidy is reduced; and (iii) to continue to be available to the public for cultural use,
to advertise a 30 year lease of the Subscription Rooms (excluding the forecourt), such lease option also to be raised with the current external bidders when the advert is placed.
3. The Head of Property Services (in consultation with the Group Leaders) shall report:
(a) to the next meeting of the Strategy and Resources Committee on progress; and
(b) to the Committee on 12 April on any offers received as a result of the advertisement (including discussions with the current external bidders) and if possible, with a recommendation for the grant of such a lease; bids to be demonstrate how they have engaged the local community in submitting their bid and how they intend to do so afterwards
(c) Require publication of community use strategy and pricing policy both subject to the agreement of SDC
(d) Establish community forum to meet with the successful bidder at least twice a year to review/guide, to be chaired by the member for Stroud Central
(e) We are very mindful of the uncertainty this further process creates for staff. All bid proposals will need to set out any implications for existing staff.
(f) If b) is not possible, to identify any alternative options for the future of the Subscription Rooms.
4. The Community Services and Licensing Committee considers the future of the Tourist Information Centre currently provided within the Subscription Rooms with a view to being able to resolve its future once Strategy and Resources Committee has determined the future of the Subscriptions Rooms in line with paragraph 3 above.