Move to market Market Room in Malmesbury
MOVES to turn part of Malmesbury Town Hall that was earmarked for commerce into a dedicated community room are gathering pace.
A bid to win planning permission to turn the Market Room into a beauty salon failed last year. But now the town council hopes it will become a hub for residents, local groups and organisations in the public sector.
A working party is being formed to help decide the future of the room, which for many years housed Cross Hayes Pre-School.
Cllr Julie Exton, who is setting up the group, said: “I was very much against it being commercial. The cafe works well in the town hall. It complements it.”
But she stressed: “The town hall is owned by the community and it should be for community use.”
One of the ideas put forward is a community hub – a one stop shop where residents can access information about local services.
Several organisations have already expressed an interest, including a housing association. “GreenSquare is interested in using it to meet residents and I’ve had inquiries from other groups.”
One of the challenges was to rethink charges. Several groups which used the building on a regular basis, went elsewhere when the hire charges increased steeply following a £1.6 million revamp. A community rate was introduced later for Monday to Wednesday lettings.
The aim is to be able to offer the room as a facility that can be used even when the main town hall building is closed. The room has its own access from Market Lane and is equipped with a kitchen and disabled lavatory.
Part of the plan is to convert a large storeroom into an office so it can be used as a small committee room or for private meetings.
An open morning is being held on Saturday for potential users between 10am and 1pm.
“We would love people or groups who are interested in using the room to come along ,look around and make suggestions,” said Cllr Exton.
“We are looking for seven people who feel they could contribute to become part of a working group to move the project forward.”
The event includes stalls and displays by groups who have already asked to join.