8th Dec, 2016

Council urged to open Public Hall or hand it over

Joshua Godfrey 10th Apr, 2016 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

CAMPAIGNERS aiming to breathe new life into Evesham’s mothballed public hall have claimed it’s being ‘left to rot’.

More than 250 people have now added their names to a petition backing the campaign for residents to set-up a Community Interest Company if Wychavon District Council is not prepared to re-open the venue above the Riverside Shopping Centre.

The iconic venue was closed back in 2009 as part of Wychavon’s cost saving drive at the height of the credit crunch, leaving the building empty and unused ever since.

But now a campaign to rebrand the town as ‘Evesham The Market Town’ is pushing for the hall’s re-opening to help regenerate the town.

Led by Mark Everall and Russel Theron, the ambitious campaign is calling on council chiefs and Aviva, the owner of the Riverside Shopping Centre, to give Vale resident the chance to run the venue as a community-based business.

Speaking to the Observer, Mr Everall said: “The hall, which now forms part of the Riverside Shopping Centre, was built in 1904 and left in a trust for the people of Evesham.

“Since 1974 the trust has been administered by Wychavon District Council.

“However, in 2009 Wychavon simply turned the power and heating off shut the doors and walked away, leaving the place rotting from cold and damp and the sprung dance floor is already badly warped.”

Mr Theron added: “We believe that if Wychavon are not prepared to re-open it, then Aviva & Wychavon should face up to their legal responsibilities firstly to repair it.

“They should then to give the people of Evesham a chance to run it themselves as a venue for the community by way of a Community Benefit Society or Co-op.”

Responding to the petition, Vic Allison, Head of Resources and Deputy Managing Director at Wychavon District Council, said: “We are aware of the petition and will analyse any credible proposal put to the council.”

Visit www.change.org and search ‘Save Evesham’s Public Hall & Get It Opened’ or search ‘Evesham The Market Town’ on Facebook for more information on the petition.