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AN ELGIN-BASED GROUP is taking steps to build a “community led solution” against the possibility of losing one of town’s most Iconic venues – the Town Hall.
Lantern of the North have decided to take the initiative and organise a meeting for individuals and groups in Moray that have an interest in looking at the future of Elgin’s Town Hall.
The Elgin Town Hall is one of several community buildings that has been earmarked for closure or Community Asset Transfer under draft proposals from Moray Council as they face having to make savings of around £6million over the next year.
While still out for consultation and a final decision, the plan has already caused a great deal of anger in communities around Moray.
Lantern of the North director and member of the popular local band ‘Edgar Road’, Mark Conti, said of the closure threat: “The Elgin Town Hall is an iconic venue that, despite its flaws, provides a hugely valuable service for the performing community.
“Having held events there we know of the huge potential to increase income and reduce costs – but it is obvious that the Council is currently unable to dedicate the resources to look at this properly.
“It is our belief that if we can bring the performing community together not just from Elgin but the whole of Moray, we can develop a plan and way forward that could bring the hall into community ownership and ensure that it is sustainable not just for now but for many years into the future.”
The group are planning on holding a meeting at 7pm on the January 16 at the Inkwell in Elgin – and have extended an invitation to anyone interested in finding a “community led solution” to attend.
Another director is former Moray Councillor Barry Jarvis, who added: “While it would be easy to get up in arms and take to the streets raising petitions and demanding the Council does something about this, we have decided instead to look at this as an opportunity.
“This opportunity, if taken, could allow the Town Hall to be the central venue for arts and community life in Moray. In the hands of a community that values its purpose and has the drive to see its potential realised.
“It is clear that if we do not step up and offer an alternative then the Council will simply shut the door and the building left to rot like Grant Lodge. Now is the time for communities to show solidarity and come together to create a new vision for the town hall.”
The January meeting is open to all those who are interested in the future of the Town Hall and in particular representatives from groups that are users of the Town Hall, and who may have ideas about how it can be run differently from at present – and want to be involved in finding solutions to the problem.