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Council gives £10k to look at future uses for Victoria Hall

Potential new uses for Glossop's Victoria Hall as a performance and arts venue are being investigated as plans to secure the future of the building when the library leaves next year move forward.

High Peak Borough Council has committed £10,000 to support the work of the Victoria Arts Centre (VAC) group to test the feasibility of their ideas which include

re-opening the upper floor public hall as a 250-seater performance venue with facilities on the ground floor and basement linked to artistic uses.

Council Leader, Councillor Tony Ashton, joined members of the VAC team at Victoria Hall as discussions about possible future uses continue.

Councillor Ashton said: "Victoria Hall is a much loved building and a key part of Glossop's heritage. It is important that we seek to renovate the building and bring it fully back into community use.

"The commitment of £10,000 follows the Council's decision last October to work with the VAC group to test their ideas for future uses of the building with a view to turning them into fully costed architectural drawings and a financial business plan."

The Council undertook survey work on the building in 2014 which showed that about £2m would be needed to renovate Victoria Hall. In 2015 over £100,000 of urgent work took place to secure the building.

The Council is the Trustee for the building rather than owning it and will need to get permission from the Charity Commission for any changes to the way the charity is run or to its purpose.

Councillor Ashton added: "There is a long way to go and there will be plenty of challenges ahead but, if the VAC plans prove viable, it is our intention to approach the Charity Commission to amend the Trust deeds for the building and try and secure funding from organisations such as the Heritage Lottery Fund."

The VAC group, led by Mike Bull, is a team of people including heritage architects, architectural historians and practitioners, business operators and performing artists. Their proposal for the building came forward following discussions with community groups in 2016.

Mr Bull said: "This is a truly ambitious project which seeks to make Glossop an even better place to both live and work. There is just so much talent in this community.

"We have a strong team and positive partnerships with both the Borough and County Councils and local groups such as the Glossop Music Festival, GODS, and the Glossop Arts Project.

"Together we hope to achieve an outcome which will save and restore the Victoria Hall building for active community uses and establish a centre for artistic excellence in Glossop. If we can pull this off, it will be an amazing new facility for this area."