Third sector consultation on future of Campbeltown Town Hall

campbeltown 4

When a collection of Third Sector bodies and groups came together in December to engage with plans for the future of Campbeltown’s glorious Town  Hall, they were also trained [by Argyll & Bute Council’s Community Development Officer, Audrey Baird] in using the council’s ‘community engagement equipment’. From the photograph above, this appears to translate into ‘touring bomb-proof laptops’.

Campbeltown Hall 4

The outcome of this consultation showed that representatives of the Third Sector groups thought that Campbeltown Town Hall had fallen into ‘disrepair’ but that it had the potential to be ‘a beautiful resource for the future’, ‘vibrant’,  ‘centre of the community’, and ‘accessible for all’ for meetings, conferences, coffee mornings,  weddings, and general community use.

Campbeltown Hall 1

The opinion was that, to be successful, this would have to be a professional operation with a full time manager to schedule and run activities in the Hall, take bookings and set up rooms.

Campbeltown Hall 2

It was also felt that the building should be open both during the day and evenings.

Campbeltown Hall 3

Strong community support was seen as the key to the success of the Campbeltown Town Hall project.

The illustrations above include the information boards for the session and should be useful more widely to those interested in this stand out building and in the activities and services it can offer when it is ready to reopen.

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22 Responses to Third sector consultation on future of Campbeltown Town Hall

    • The Campbeltown Town Hall is an A listed building, historically and architecturally important to Campbeltown but also of national significance. Its value to the townscape is immense. It can’t just be left to rot. My fear is that these proposals, particularly the building’s being taken over by the third sector, are simply a ploy by Argyll and Bute Council to avoid its responsibility to maintain – and use – it appropriately.

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    • Simon, interesting point. One of Campbeltown’s biggest issues in the past, and will continue, is maintaining and upgrading buildings that simply don’t meet the needs of modern society. So whilst you may feel we have too many public buildings it isn’t always in the long term interest of the community. Campbeltown is arguably Argyll’s finest town in terms of architecture so money is continually thrown at historic buildings as we continue to miss out on facilities enjoyed elsewhere. No doubt the next building to have a makeover will be the Community Centre and we will have another building not fit for purpose. :-)

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  1. Hughie, I’m not saying you have too mmany public buildings – I’m asking how many you need? Given you’ve got the Town Hall, Victoria Hall, new Library/pool, Museum and the Community Centre.

    I’m also interested in your comment “we miss out on facilities enjoyed elsewhere.” What facilites did you have in mind?

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    • Perhaps not elsewhere in all cases but when I think of “Town Hall, Victoria Hall, new Library/pool, Museum and the Community Centre” and more so the Victoria Hall none of these provide a true, modern facility that fits the needs of a 21st century community. The Town Hall, Victoria Hall, Museum and Community Centre are a jumble of buildings all trying to survive yet the Victoria Hall for example isn’t a sports hall or a music/concert venue but that is what we have to use. The facilities are dragonian. Whilst the Aqualibrium has certainly created a hub for the centre of the town it was the biggest wasted opportunity the Council and Campbeltown had to provide the facilities needed. £8 million pounds and NO indoors halls, squash courts, fitness studios, changing rooms for the fields outside etc

      So we have classes that should be held in the Aqualibrium held in the Victoria Hall and some in the Town Hall that all should be under the one roof of the Aqualibrium. Some things on at the Community Centre too with no cohesion and all these buildings costing our local government a quite small considerabl fortune yet not fit for purpose. That’s the reality. The town hall however, is an iconic building that should be the certain piece of the town and if restored correctly could be a focus for community events like coffee mornings, weddings etc

      Off topic but isn’t it about time the Council considered a Leisure Trust which will allow access to funding the Council cannot get and also exemption from rates? I wonder how much money that save in this time of cuts?

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      • This is an on-the-money analysis. A missing piece of Campbeltown’s toolkit for success is the right sort of good music concert / performance venue.
        The intelligent action would be to review the handful of buildings providing the variety of public services you describe, see what that threw up and make a decision on what to keep, for what purpose, whether one or some of the current buildings might embrace other functions – and if, say, another new build or conversion might be the answer to a concert / rehearsal / performance venue.
        What’s the story about the big closed church in the right at the top of the main street?
        Can’t the community set up its own leisure trust?
        We think local Amenity Councils are exempt from rates? Does Campbeltown have one?

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  2. Thanks Hughie. I understand the Councxil tried leisure trust approach on some towns before before and it went bust owing – how ironic – the council £000s in rates.

    I think the sucessful Leisure building in Oban (Atlantis) is guaranteed money each year by the Council – a subsidy if you like. Now if the same level of subsidy was on offer elsewhere – communities might be interested.

    Newsie, there is no such legal entity as an ‘Amenity Councils’. What determines if an organisation is expemt from rates is their legal status – specifically their charitable status. If they have charitable status then there an automatic exemption from a percentage of the rates and councils can also award an additional discretionary element of exemption.

    Once they have achieved charitable stauts they can call themselves an amenity council if they wish – but it is the charitable status that determines rate exemption.

    Private schools in this country are laughingly classed as charities. So, for example Lomond school will not pay rates but the local authority schools down the road – Hermitage Academy – will pay many £000s in rates. How’s that for a level playing field? Lomond is subsidised by the rate payers. Personally I think if they want to go ‘private’ then go ‘private’ and don’t expect the rest of us to pay for Henrietta and Hubert to attend their priveliged school.

    But I digress!

    Campbeltown Grammar will also pay £000s in rates but this school of course is also availble to the Campbeltown community to hire for a concert / rehearsal or performance venue.

    So probably no need for another concert / rehearsal or performance venue.

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    • I agree with Simon ,there is no need for another venue . What Campbeltown needs , in my view , is for the Victoria Hall to brought up to standard , it has become very tatty and for the fees to use the hall to be affordable .
      The community can have the most fantastic facilities in Britain , but if the opening hours are too restricted and the costs to use the facilities too high then we are no better off and events will take place in non council operated buildings , rather like the situation we have at present .

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    • Why doesn’t the Council set-up a leisure trust? ie Simply move it from the Council to a trust? I believe there is more to exemption of rates that your charitable status however. But as you say Simon, the likes of the Aqualibrium is not exempt. Didn’t know that about the private schools, shocking.

      As for doing up the Victoria Hall? It still wouldn’t be fit for purpose. Knock it down and build a new one but do it right. PS Out of interest – is the hall that expensive?

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      • There is absolutely no point in ‘doing up’ the Victoria Hall These fudges are never more than a short term palliative and are a waste of resources.

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  3. Hughie, you are probably right when you say “Knock it down and build a new one but do it right”. Older and inefficient public buildings do deteriorate and there comes a time when demolition and re-building make economic sense.

    That said, the council are facing massive cuts for years to come – so I can’t really see the capital sums required for demolition and rebuild being made available for a new Victoria Hall.

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    • Let’s have no more of this nonsense in Campbeltown of knock it down and build new .
      The shabby modern replacements are a backward step from the characterful ,substantial properly built buildings lost to make way for out of place ugly short life span trashy rubbish put up in their place . Look no further than the Grammar School .

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  4. The main reasons that fee-paying schools can be given charitable status are.
    1. They allow schools and other organisations to use their sports grounds and other facilities.
    2. They award bursaries to pupils whose parents cannot afford the fees.
    Parents who choose to send their children to fee-paying schools do so at their own expense despite paying through their taxes and council taxes the runninng costs of Local Authority schools.
    If every parent in Scotland whose children currently a fee-paying decided this August (2013) to send their children to a Local Authority school the Local Authority schools would have to turn away pupils as they would be overcrowded especially in places such as Glasgow and Edinburgh.

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    • We would also see an urgency to improve state schools sadly lacking at present from our elected representatives, if their kiddies had to attend them .
      I have no problem with people choosing to educate their children in privately run schools ,but I think it ridiculous and wrong that these institutions have charitable status .

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