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Letter to the Editor: Town Hall


Andrew Mitchell writes to the Editor of the Sutton Coldfield Observer on the future of the Town Hall.

27 January 2015

Sir,

Along with many others I attended last Sunday's magnificent Gala Concert with the Birmingham Philharmonic Orchestra in Sutton's Town Hall, organised by the Sutton Coldfield Town Hall Users Group. Our Town Hall was packed and at its best.

But the future of our Town Hall is under massive threat. Two significant problems face us. The first is that an imminent bill for nearly £500,000 to address the building, fabric and condition of the Town Hall will need to be found. The second is that the Town Hall is losing nearly £2000 a week on running costs. Unless these two problems can be addressed - and the town's councillors under Anne Underwood's determined leadership have been wrestling with ways of addressing both these problems since at least last September - the future for our Town Hall is bleak.

In my judgement the problem of capital spending might well be solvable if we could find a private sector organisation to put together a package which markets the Town Hall to a wider cohort of potential users. Currently this has not been done and the significant cuts in spending imposed on Sutton Coldfield by Birmingham City Council means that as things stand only a private sector driven solution has any hope of success.

So we are looking for creative ideas and imagination likely to be found in the event and event management community or an imaginative development solution capable of delivering a scheme which maintains the theatre facility which many have enjoyed for so many years but which includes concessionary terms for Sutton-grown theatre groups and other local organisations which have been a key feature of Town Hall use in the past.

ANDREW MITCHELL



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