Sub Rooms Petition Delivered

Posted on 13. Jun, 2017 by in Arts, Business, Community, Featured, Politics & Campaigns

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Today a group of people passionate about keeping our Sub Rooms in public ownership presented a 1,700 strong petition to the Strategy and Resorces Committee. At the moment a task and Finish group of councillors is considering the options and has been seeking input from interested parties.

Here’s the campaign website: http://www.supportoursubs.co.uk/
And the Facebook page:  Facebook.com/supportoursubs

And see the Subs programme where you can support the Subs by attending their events: http://www.subscriptionrooms.org.uk/

See the film of the celebration day with many voices at the Sub Rooms on 1st April 2017: http://stroudcommunity.tv/voices-support-our-subs/

See more about teh Council Review at: https://www.stroud.gov.uk/sport-leisure-parks/events-and-things-to-do/subscription-rooms/subrooms-review

Petition Speech
My name is Julie Wickham. I worked with several other people to gather names for the petition. Some of us have now formed the Subs Community Association of which I am the secretary. We, the 1700 undersigned call upon our district councillors to do everything in their power to keep Stroud’s Subscription Rooms as the vibrant, publicly-owned community venue it is, and to work with the community to secure its future.

The image of hundreds of supporters joining hands around the building to protect it is a powerful metaphor and should not be ignored. The building brings the community together and the development of a vibrant arts and cultural centre, imaginatively run, can bring huge social and economic benefit to our whole district.

How can we ensure that the community can still be involved in the life of the Sub Rooms? 57 original shareholders paid £50 each which is the equivalent of a £2million investment. The Community have been able to use this building for 183 years. How would the Council feel about being the group to go down in history as the Council that sold it off after 183 years?  This is not a complete list but last year there were 38 Community events, a Theatre Festival, a book festival, 17 Classical Jazz and Brass Band concerts. We had the ballroom full on many community occasions and all that is at stake if we lose the Sub Rooms and if we lose its community ethos. Once it’s gone it’s gone.
Much of the information that has been given to date resembles that of an estate agent presenting a portfolio for the auction of commercial premises. The Community could be forgiven for thinking that the Council is not seeking a community partner but is looking for a property developer to use the building in any way they please.

Our key requests are:-

We would like to see Option 3 of this process –  the option to sell off the building – off the table. We want the Subscription Rooms kept in public ownership.
We want to see some key guidelines for whoever takes over the building, namely that profits made should be ploughed back for all community use and that the building continues to have the community use at its heart. The audience for all the events is diverse in terms of class, age and background. You can’t put a price on that. We would like to see this essential function expanded.
Keep the Sub Rooms working effectively in the transition phase. Whatever the Council’s chosen course, it must support the current staff to do their best. For example, attempts to close café facilities indicates to the public that the building is winding down, making it harder for any organisation taking over to regain goodwill.
Marketing resources need to be strengthened now so that events coming up over the transition period can be actively sold in order to guarantee their success and maintain goodwill and custom.
Extend the timeline – a strong community option needs more time for development. We realise that there has to be a process but if we are not careful, this process will be divisive. We need to bring the community together, build consensus on the way forward and find the very best people for the job.

About Philip

Director and Co-Founder of Stroud Community TV

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