Trust could preserve Bourne Town Hall for future use

Bourne Town Hall EMN-140516-162607001
Bourne Town Hall EMN-140516-162607001
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A trust could take over the running of Bourne Town Hall to preserve it for community use.

Lincolnshire County Council will discuss forming a Bourne Town Hall Trust management committee at a meeting today.

The new committee, made up of councillors, would look at the options for the future of the site.

If councillors back the officers recommendation, there will be a public consultation on what people would like to see for the future of the hall.

In a report ahead of the meeting, it states the county council acquired the hall in 1974 as a trust and is the sole corporate trustee.

The hall is a charity in law dating back to 1821.

The report states: “The spirit of the original gift is the provision of a town hall and market for Bourne, in order to provide a public benefit to the town, and contribute to the town’s general prosperity and welfare. In providing such a facility, the gift was aimed at accommodating and enhancing various public functions including the judicial, military, civic and commercial functions of the town.”

The council has taken specialist legal advice and officers believe delegating the management of the town hall to a committee is the way forward. The committee will not include councillors who are elected in Bourne as trustees can not have any personal interests that could conflict with the “interests of the trust”.

Coun Sue Woolley (Con), member for Bourne Abbey, said: “I’m delighted that things are starting to move forward with the town hall. I know it’s only a first step, but it’s important we get all the legal formalities right.

“At least we can now start to think about how our community would like to see this iconic building, which is quite literally at the heart of the town, used in the future.”

Bourne Town Hall has been empty since March 2013, when the town and district council services moved into Bourne Corn Exchange, along with the library and register services.

In September, a proposal was put forward to turn the town hall into a cinema. The idea was backed in principle but it was not thought to be a viable proposal because the building was too small.