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Friends group must pay to meet in Assembly Hall

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A GROUP which has been formed to support and promote Melksham Assembly Hall, were forced to change venue for their meeting, when they were told they would have to pay £25 per hour to use the hall. 

Chair of Friends of Melksham Assembly Hall, Graham Ellis, who is also a town councillor said, “We had to switch to a different venue just a few hours before the meeting when a misunderstanding on the use of the hall for us to meet came to light. It seemed extraordinary to us to have our request to meet at the hall accepted, then be asked to pay £25 an hour to hold a meeting whose purpose was to help them. 

“However, we appreciate that a precedent could not be set and that a request for a concession would need to go to a council meeting sometime later this month.” 

He described the Friends’ meeting as disappointing and frustrating, saying that questions which were asked of the town council from the previous meeting had not been answered.  

However, he understood that some positive steps – such as sorting out a marketing budget so what’s going on at the hall can be advertised – are being taken.  

Graham said, “But we are learning all sorts of things as to just how complex this is – for example, there’s a need for people to help with the bar on event nights (I have contacts if people would like to be considered for the pool), but even though I’m prepared to help (and have experience) I’m not allowed to because of legal restrictions on elected councillors.” 

The Friends of Melksham Assembly Hall next meeting will be held on Thursday 14th October, with a  Zoom code on the group’s web page, and limited capacity in a non-council location near the town centre. 

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