CAMPAIGNERS calling for the re-opening of Evesham’s Public Hall have welcomed a decision by Aviva to carry out repair works to the exterior of the iconic building.
Mark Everall and Russel Theron, who lead the ‘Evesham- The Public Hall’ campaign, have recently received agreement from Aviva, who hold the freehold of the Riverside Shopping Centre, to carry out repairs to the hall.
As part of the campaigners continuing effort to get the Public Hall re-opened, they now hope the repair work is another step on the way to a co-operative group being set-up by town residents in order to run the hall.
And more than 300 people have now signed the campaign’s petition backing their calls to get the hall re-opened.
Mark Everall, co-ordinator of the Public Hall Community Project, said: “This is wonderful news for Evesham and means that we have at last broken the long stalemate over who is responsible for the maintenance of the Halls exterior.
“All that’s needed now is for Wychavon to fulfill their longstanding obligation to repair and maintain the interior and we are well on the way to re-opening the hall as a modern multipurpose venue for the town.”
Mr Everall also believes Wychavon has funding available to it in order to re-open the hall without having to spend money the council doesn’t have.
“I am pleased to announce that from research we have identified two historic funding streams one of which belongs to the Hall,” he added.
“The other is the nine per cent which Wychavon gets annually from the rents on the Riverside shops.
“If diverted from Wychavon back to the Public Hall these streams would make the project self-sustaining.”
Responding to Mr Everall’s claim, Vic Allison, Deputy Managing Director at Wychavon, said: “At the moment we’re looking at Evesham town centre in the wider sense, relating to the economy and including the Riverside Centre.
“We recognise the importance of this to the Evesham economy and we’re working with the owners Aviva to secure new investment and benefits for the town centre.
“The Public Hall is obviously linked to this, so we’re being very careful not to jeopardise any wider project.
“Shop rents are already earmarked and we await the petition, and as previously stated, any credible and sustainable ideas for the future of the hall we will be happy to consider.”
For more information on the campaign search ‘Evesham- The Public Hall’ on Facebook. Or to sign the petition visit www.change.org and search ‘Wychavon; Save Evesham’s Public Hall & let the community run it.’