In agreeing a 25-year lease of Jedburgh town hall, a number of councillors said they believed that the town’s leisure facilities trust will be in a better position to run it than the council.
That assertion, along with the warning from the council’s head of property and facilities management that SBC is struggling to keep town halls across the region in a ‘good serviceable condition’, suggests this could be repeated elsewhere in the Borders in the near future.
Providing a suitably able community group or organisation can take on the task of maintaining and operating their hall, then the council will be desperate to offload what appears to be a burden to them.
With more flexibility in terms of rental rates, and most likely a greater ability to attract local groups to make use of the facilities, then community-run town and village halls could well be the way to go, for everyone’s benefit.
However, many of our halls are historic buildings and require careful management and maintenance to ensure they remain useable long in to the future.
Hopefully increased usage, and in turn more trading income, would enable community groups to protect halls in the long term.
And, with a hall being used more often for everything from toddlers groups to wedding receptions, many could regain their position at the heart of the community, where they should always be.