Jed draws up plan to take over running of Town Hall

A DRAFT business plan is being drawn up, which, if successful, would see control of Jedburgh Town Hall being passed to the leisure facilities trust which already runs the local swimming pool, writes Mark Entwistle.

Andrew Drummond-Hunt, Scottish Borders Council’s head of property and facilities management, told TheSouthern this week that as part of the ongoing review of community services – and following a council decision on March 24 – public halls and community centres have been identified for possible transfer to the voluntary sector as part of a community asset transfer project.

“Jedburgh Town Hall is one of these premises and is being considered as a pilot for a possible transfer,” he said.

“Coincidentally, Jedburgh Leisure Facilities Trust approached the council with a view to them leasing Jedburgh Town Hall and running it for the benefit of the citizens of Jedburgh and the Borders.

“SBC therefore entered into preliminary discussions with the trust, which are ongoing. It is understood the trust is putting together a business project plan for further consideration by the council.”

But George Burt, from the Jedburgh Leisure Facilities Trust, says taking over the running of the 111-year-old hall from Scottish Borders Council has been something that has been on the agenda of not just the trust, but also the local community council and the Jedburgh Alliance for some time.

“We want to take over the hall because it is fairly underused at the moment. Our intention would be to promote its use more,” Mr Burt told TheSouthern this week.

“It currently suffers from no backstage facilities and we want to draw up a plan for extending the stage and the facilities and would look to apply for lottery funding to carry out the improvement work.”

And Mr Burt added: “I am currently drawing up a draft business plan to put to the council and this will go before a meeting of the trust, in the first instance, on Monday night.

“SBC has been quite co-operative in providing information.”

Mr Burt says the case of the local swimming pool, taken over by the trust from the local authority seven years ago, could be held up as a good example of success when it came to a local group taking over and managing a local leisure facility.

“In the seven years since the trust took over the opertaion of the swimming pool, it has doubled the number of users and attracted £300,000 of improvements from outwith the Borders.

“As a result, the trust can demonstrate it has a successful track record when it comes to such projects.”