[23rd March 2013]: Letter to Paul Crossley, March 2013
Click here to download the letter (192Kb docx)
Please see Paul Crossley's reply below - despite being dated 18 April, it arrived on 24 April.
Click here to download Paul Crossley's reply (182Kb pdf)
[18th March 2013]: Let's hear it for the Victoria Hall please - Radstock's Key Civic Building still in the doldrums
Whoever heard of leaving the key civic building of a community empty and lifeless for months on end with no news at all from those who have assumed responsibility for putting it right?
Refurbishing civic buildings in the current economic climate is never going to be easy. But Radstock urgently needs the Victoria Hall back in the centre of life in the community. No-one imagines that BANES can single-handedly assume responsibility for all that needs doing and for the day to day running of the reopened facilities. It is important that local involvement is matched by creative professional thinking and a serious business plan for the future. But nothing is happening - other than men with clipboards being sighted from time to time.
January 2012 local people pledge their services to get the Victoria Hall in shape
In January 2012 Radstock Action Group held a Saturday 'What's Next for Radstock?' on the future of the Victoria Hall. As a result of this event, many committed and enthusiastic local people volunteered to help with the work which would be needed to make the Hall a top-class civic building for the twenty-first century. But the offers of help and support were ignored by BANES. Instead they have organised a consultation - the full results of which have never been properly dealt with. You can see our full submission and the original proposal at: www.radstockactiongroup.org.uk/victoria_hall.php
A deafening silence falls on plans
Matters took another turn when on 17 May 2012, BANES announced the immediate closure of the Hall on Health and Safety grounds - there were promises to keep the community involved and to finance the refurbishment. But nothing is happening - or if it is, no-one in Radstock knows about it.
Cllr Crossley must answer these questions
So Radstock Action Group is putting together some questions for Councillor Paul Crossley, leader of BANES, who has taken control of the operation from Cllr Bellotti. Here are our starter questions:
- What is happening to the Victoria Hall and the promises to deal with asbestos and electrical issues?
- Is BANES prepared to reverse the view that the Caretaker's House should be sold off?
- Local people want the snooker facilities retained. What is BANES' current thinking on this matter?
- Is the library to be moved into the Victoria Hall or not?
- Various sums of money have been promised from BANES to refurbish the hall. Why is this not being spent? it is ten months since the Hall was closed and every day that goes past means further dilapidation and further expense to put it right.
- When and how are local people going to be involved in bringing this valuable asset back into use?
The Victoria Hall is key to the regeneration of Radstock. Constant delays are unacceptable - some cynics have even gone so far as to suggest that the council is intent on leaving it to fall down. We urgently need meeting rooms, a venue for dance classes, films, community activities and much more. So why the delay?
[18th November 2012]: RAG's Response to BANES Proposals on the Future of Victoria Hall
Radstock Action Group made the following statement at the Cabinet meeting on 14 November. It was a responce to the B&NES proposals on the future of the Victoria Hall which can be seen at: democracy.bathnes.gov.uk/documents/s22987/E2458%20Victoria%20Hall.pdf
Click here to download the document (156Kb .docx)
[7th July 2012]: Latest consultation documents and responses
[3rd July 2012]: BANES Cabinet comes to Radstock to Discuss Future of Victoria Hall
Bath and North East Somerset Council
Radstock Methodist Church
11th July, 2012 @ 6.30 pm
In a rare and welcome departure from their normal venues, BANES Cabinet will be holding their next meeting in Radstock. The reason for this? Steps will be made towards a later decision on the exact future of the hall.
BANES publishes the agenda for the meeting
The documentation for the meeting is now available on the BANES website. It contains the very clear message that the vast majority of respondents to the initial consultation exercise favoured the continuing ongoing use of the Victoria Hall for Community Uses, with Meeting Space, Exhibition Space and Snooker being the second to fourth preferences. BANES must ensure that they really do respond positively to the local community's wishes, noting the good will and the offers of help which have emerged from the initial consultation. Above all, the final decision must aim for the very best, in terms of design, development, organisation, maintenance and day-to-day running. Our key municipal building deserves nothing less and there is now a golden opportunity to ensure that we have facilities which reflect the current needs and wishes of the town.
Involving the community in the next steps is vital
Clearly, there is still a lot of work to be done before the next Cabinet meeting in September, and we hope that BANES will continue to discuss with the many people who care about the future of the Hall and who have, in many cases, offered their time, expertise and enthusiasm to ensure that it remains in community use and to permit the earliest possible return of local users.
Radstock Action Group will be attending the meeting where contributions from members of the public will be taken. Our written response to the recent consultation can be found by clicking here.
We urge as many people as possible to come to the meeting and to speak.
How to book to speak at the meeting
Anyone wishing to speak at the meeting should phone Col Spring on 01225 394942 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Press Release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary, on behalf of Radstock Action Group
[20th June 2012]: Radstock Action Group Response to BANES Consultation on the Future of the Victoria Hall
Click here to download the document (191Kb pdf)
[11th June 1012]: Response to Victoria Hall Consultation
Radstock Action Groups' response to the consultation on the future of Victoria Hall. A fuller statement will be submitted to B&NES and will take into account the strategic planning issues of the Core Strategy, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the Local Plan.
167Kb pdf [ Download ]
[21st May 2012]: Victoria Hall must be saved
Faint hearts might conclude from the latest dramatic steps involving the immediate closure of the Victoria Hall, that there is little point in even contemplating any future for this iconic building which says so much about the history and the prospects of Radstock.
The Good News: BANES says its committed to bringing the building up to modern standards
However, Radstock Action Group is encouraged to see that BANES has stated that 'It was always anticipated that there would be significant financial costs to bring the building up to modern standards to support any future use and the Cabinet remains committed to identifying the funding required'. This, hopefully, indicates that we can expect BANES to remain committed to the full restoration of the hall as the key civic building in the town. The other encouraging aspect of the surveys which have been conducted, is that there appears to be no damning condemnation of the structure of the building: the key weaknesses appear to be the electricals and the asbestos.
Keeping Radstock distinctive and special
Clearly, the condition outlined by the Council is serious and no-one can quarrel with the closure if lives could be at risk. But, under no circumstances, should this latest problem be regarded as the end of the road for the Hall. As we fight to prevent the destruction of the rail features in the centre of the town, we are now faced with the prospect of protecting another key part of the important heritage of 'the best preserved mining town centre in the country'. It is absolutely essential that we do not find ourselves witnessing the erosion of all that makes Radstock distinctive and special being gradually whittled away by small steps, each one of which might appear insignificant to those who do not know the town well.
The Community must get involved in getting the Victoria Hall back to full use
Only the people of Radstock, working in concert with the BANES and Radstock Town Council and other statutory and voluntary sector organisations, can save the town centre, including the Victoria Hall. We know that people will come forward as they did to volunteer to keep it running before BANES agreed to help out. Clearly, current users of the Hall need to be able to resume their use as soon as possible.
Working with and learning from other communities
The fight to save the Hall will require coordinated action to support BANES in fundraising for future restoration, ensuring that there are no half-measures and that the hall is never again subjected to the irresponsible neglect it has suffered in recent years. Buildings old and new require maintenance; there are many towns and communities which have brought old civic buildings back into vibrant use for their users and we must learn from their experiences and take their advice.
Radstock Action Group urges everyone to return their questionnaire rather than being discouraged by the latest developments.
This is a building of which we can all be proud - it can be a key focus for the town as regeneration gives Radstock a new and exciting future.
Press release issued by Amanda Leon, Secretary, on behalf of Radstock Action Group