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Exciting future for Melksham Assembly Hall

AN exciting redevelopment of Melksham Assembly Hall is one of the possibilities being looked at by its owners, Melksham Town Council, as it considers the hall’s future.

The council has set up a task group to look at various options ranging from renovating the existing hall, to a complete redevelopment.

“The hall, as it stands, is becoming increasingly expensive to maintain and we are looking at the options for the future,” said town clerk Steve Gray.

“We will be speaking to local architects to see what’s possible and hopefully create a new facility which Melksham can be proud of.

“It’s an exciting project and there is a real commitment amongst councillors to provide a facility which will serve the community well for the next 40 to 50 years.

“One of the options could be retractable tiered seating which would certainly enhance the hall for when we have comedians and other entertainers and for the films.

“We could also look at extending the hall upwards and providing a more flexible set up, which retains the large hall, but allows it to be split into smaller rooms to cater for a wider range of functions.

“We are hoping local architects will come up with ideas and show us just what would be possible.

“A recent survey in the town found that there was overwhelming support for the Assembly Hall. It’s an important part of the community and the council is looking at how it can be redeveloped or adapted to further enhance the facilities available in Melksham.”

Town councillor Geoff Mitcham, who is on the Assembly Hall task group and who runs the Melksham Rock ‘n’ Roll evenings in the hall said he was excited about the plans.

“With my Rock ‘n’ Roll hat on, when there was talk about looking at the future of the hall, I was horrified at first,” he said. “When people talk about looking at the future of a building there are always fears it could be lost or it’s simply an excuse to save money – but nothing could be further from the truth.

“There aren’t many halls around of the size of the Assembly Hall so I wouldn’t want to see that lost and I’m sure many people in town will feel the same way. For the Rock ‘n’ Roll Club, it would mean having to find an alternative venue temporarily and there are many clubs who would be in the same boat.

“However, I can see the logic in extending the hall upwards and adding tiered seating would be advantageous for performances especially the pantomimes and being able to split the hall into different sized rooms gives more options to hirers.

“It will be exciting to get expert advice to see just what we could do.

“It won’t be for a few years yet, though, so we have time to think about it and there is time for people in the town to offer any suggestions.”

Councillor Hayley Spencer, who organises the annual Comic Con event in the Assembly Hall, added, “These are really exciting times for the hall. It’s got so much to offer and is such an asset and we want to make sure that it stays that way.

“My number one priority when I joined the town council was the future of the Assembly Hall and to look for ways to put even more events on there.

“Times change and we need to adapt but it will be great to see what options we have and how we can provide a facility for the benefit of the town, both now and for future generations.”