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Ulverston Town Council may move to Coro Hall in SLDC plan
THE future of Ulverston Town Hall is uncertain with a key meeting set to take place next week.
On Monday the 18-member Ulverston Town Council will consider a suggestion from South Lakeland District Council to move to the Coronation Hall.
It would mean leaving its established base at the town hall in Queen Street.
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The suggestion has been mooted as one of the efforts to help secure the Coro's long-term future.
SLDC has previously warned that it is gearing up to pull the funding rug from the Coro from the new financial year starting in April 2015.
It currently funds the hall to the region of around £330,000 - equivalent to nearly £1,000 a day.
SLDC believes the move of the town council into the Coro 'would help towards creating a single venue as a focus for civic and community use in Ulverston'.
It says if the town council agrees, SLDC would 'enter in to discussions about the future of the town hall building with existing tenants'.
Other occupants of the town hall include SLDC, Cumbria County Council, South Lakes Housing and other partners.
At its meeting on Monday, Ulverston Town Council has to decide whether or not to ‘agree in principle to the surrender of its 'user rights relating to the town council chamber and office and rent suitable accommodation within the Coronation Hall.
SLDC says if the town council agrees, 'a period of detailed negotiation would begin before final approval of the terms and conditions'.
Any move would mean the town council relocating many historic items including the wooden plaques listing the names of former Ulverston mayors dating back to the 1890s.
Town council meetings would be held in the Supper Room at the Coronation Hall.
SLDC says it 'remains committed to exploring opportunities for the transfer of the Coronation Hall and is still working with Ulverston Community Enterprises on the proposals, which have widespread support in Ulverston'.
SLDC owns and operates the Coro but says it can no longer continue the current level of funding.
And previously, SLDC leader Peter Thornton has said the council provides more money to the Coronation Hall than it does The Brewery in Kendal.
In the joint statement from both SLDC and Ulverston Town Council, Ulverston's mayor Helen Irving said: “This is not a decision that will be taken lightly by the Town Council and we need to consider all the factors.
“The chamber at the town hall has been in use for more than 120 years and is part of Ulverston’s civic history, but as a progressive, modern council we also need to look forward as well as back.
“First and foremost we need to consider what is in the best interests of the residents of Ulverston. If we feel a move to the Coronation Hall would help to secure the future of a much-loved theatre and community venue, while also providing the council with high quality, up-to-date new facilities, then that may well be a discussion worth having."
“I should also stress that we expect any move and refurbishment of facilities at the Coronation Hall would be funded by the district council.’’
And Coun Thornton said in the statement: “We are hoping that Ulverston Town Council will agree to discuss the idea of moving in to the Coronation Hall.
"The Coronation Hall is a wonderful building and a wonderful asset. We feel that working together with the town council on this move would be a significant step to helping us to ensure the Coro has got a bright future.
“We are still working with the community group about the possibility of transferring control and those discussions will continue.
He added: "We have said before that we can’t afford to keep funding the Coronation Hall as we have done in the past and these negotiations are all part of working hard to find the best way forward for the Coronation Hall and for the residents of Ulverston.’’
The Coronation Hall officially opened in 1920, although a foundation stone was laid in 1914.
The then Ulverston Urban District Council took over the running but after local government reorganisation in 1974 it was transferred to the then newly-created SLDC.