Trowbridge Town Hall is about to embark on a major capital restoration. We’re working with Wiltshire Council to deliver this once-in-a-generation opportunity.
Below are a series of answers to questions to give a little more detail.
1. What is the Town Hall?
Trowbridge Town Hall is a Grade 2-listed building at the heart of the town. It is owned by Wiltshire Council and run by Trowbridge Town Hall Trust, an independent charity, as a culture and civic hub.
In its early days, it housed a library, courts and cells. The local community came here for dances, concerts and performances.
Since 2012, the Town Hall has been run by a charity, Trowbridge Town Hall Trust, reanimating the historic building as the buzzing creative heart of Trowbridge, welcoming around 50,000 visits a year through its historic doors.
2. Who are the Town Hall Trust?
Trowbridge Town Hall Trust was established following a public meeting in 2012. As an independent charity, its aim is to restore the historic Town Hall for the people of the town, creating a home for culture and community.
The Trust has a board of trustees, two of whom are elected annually from the membership. It is free to become a member of the Town Hall Trust.
The Trust’s vision is for a creative, confident and cohesive town. Its purpose is to secure the future of the historic town hall as a place that benefits the inhabitants of the town.
3. What is the Future High Streets Fund?
The aim of the Future High Streets Fund is to renew and reshape town centres and high streets in a way that drives growth, improves experience and ensures future sustainability.
Applications were invited for the Government fund, and Trowbridge was one of 100 towns shortlisted. In December 2020, Wiltshire Council was provisionally awarded £16,347,056 for Trowbridge and in May 2021 this funding was formally awarded.
4. What was involved in Wiltshire Council’s bid for the Future High Street Fund?
Wiltshire Council worked collaboratively with a number of stakeholders, including Trowbridge Town Council, the Chamber of Commerce, as well as conducting wider public engagement to find projects that could best benefit Trowbridge’s high street aligned to the criteria in the fund.
5. How much of the Future High Street Fund will be awarded to Trowbridge Town Hall?
£8.1 million of the funding for Trowbridge will be invested in the Town Hall.
6. What will be the money be used for at the Town Hall?
Significant refurbishment of the Town Hall is required to prevent it becoming unusable and unsafe in the short term. Without investment, the Town Hall is at risk of closure and if it were to close, it would be very difficult to reopen.
The money invested into the Town Hall will be used to restore the building, safeguarding its long-term sustainability and maximising the capacity for the building to host an exciting and vibrant programme of cultural, community and social activities within the heart of Trowbridge town centre.
The wider Future High Streets Fund will also be invested to improve links with other existing facilities in the town (see Q. 10, below).
7. What changes will be made to the building?
The money will be invested into a number of areas including:
- Repairs – Essential repairs will be made to the outside of the building, including repairs to the external stonework and the roof, ensuring the Town Hall’s place at the heart of the town, and its heritage, is maintained.
- Community – The aim is to return the historic Great Hall to its original dimensions, enabling the ability to hold concerts and events for up to 350 people. There will be additional smaller spaces in the building for community and cultural activity.
- Improve access – Access to, and around the building, will be improved to make it more accessible to those with disabilities.
- Maintenance – the building will be upgraded generally to attain lower maintenance and running costs.
8. Will the money be enough?
The £8.1 million budget will be challenging and the project team will work to attain value-for-money in its design and construction.
We have aspirations to deliver further improvements to the Town Hall and have a strategy in place to secure just under £2 million additional funding from National Lottery funders, Trusts & Foundations, as well as individuals and corporates.
9. How can I contribute?
We could not do what we do at the Town Hall without the support of our generous community.
In the coming months we will be launching a giving campaign – we will share more information on our website and social media. In the meantime, if you would like to support the development of the Town Hall, or organise your own fundraising event, please get in touch.
Alternatively, you can also donate on the Local Giving page here.
10. What about other projects in the bid for the Trowbridge High Street Fund?
The additional projects being supported by the Future High Street Fund include:
- transforming the northern gateway into a welcoming arrival point and transport improvements converting the northern gyratory into a two-way traffic system enabling pedestrianisation of the northern part of the high street.
- enhancements to the River Biss bank to enable safer pedestrian access to the river front and under the town bridge.
- improving accessibility, connectivity and wayfinding of the town centre.
- offering grants to businesses to support change of use creating a more diverse offer in the town centre.
- bringing the vacant Market Hall back into active use.
11. When can I see the Town Hall refurbishment plans?
We are now commencing the feasibility and options study for the renovation works, working with Wiltshire Council, our members and users. Public events will be held giving an update on the outline options and feasibility and we would encourage you to give your feedback so we can deliver the best outcomes for the people of Trowbridge.
12. What happens after the works are complete?
Once the restoration is complete, the aim is for Wiltshire Council to look to complete a Community Asset Transfer and hand the building over to the Town Hall Trust for the charity to continue to manage the building, securing the Town Hall’s place at the heart of the community for many years to come.
13. How will this work support the renewal of Trowbridge’s high street?
The role of the high street has always evolved, and now is no different. The high street needs to adapt to the changing needs of its residents, where people want access to more leisure, cultural and community facilities alongside a retail offering.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also had a significant impact upon the high street, speeding up a trend towards retail moving online and consequently reducing footfall in towns across the country.
The new and improved Town Hall will once again become the heart of the town centre. The new offering will attract new visitors to Trowbridge’s high street during the day and reinvigorate the night time economy.
This investment is only the start of the regeneration of Trowbridge. In the future, we expect that other industrial towns will look towards Trowbridge and see what is possible in the regeneration of their town centres.
14. What will happen during the renovations? Will the Town Hall be closed?
This is most likely – as it will be both highly disruptive and costly to keep the Town Hall (or discreet parts of it) open during the renovations. So we will most likely be closing the doors.
In this case, activities that currently take place at the Town Hall will relocate to another space or spaces in the town.
15. I live in Trowbridge – how will this benefit me?
The Town Hall has a rich history of serving its community – the people of the town. By restoring the building, its future in the heart of Trowbridge will be secured.
The Town Hall is somewhere you can use for whatever you want and where you can get involved in your local community. In the Town Hall, you can learn a new skill, meet friends, start a business, join a choir, see your favourite bands or learn to ballroom dance – the possibilities are endless.
It is a place where you get to decide what happens and with the Town Hall Trust, we can work together to make it happen. We exist to provide the space and support for each person in our town, empowering and enabling you to live your fullest life. And of course, most importantly have fun!
Restoring this iconic building, will ensure that it remains at the heart of the town for many years to come, and will be a beacon of civic pride, as it was a hundred years ago.
If you have an idea on how you want to use the Town Hall, whether it is a group, a class or even setting up a business get in touch.
16. I am a volunteer for the Town Hall – will there still be a role for volunteers?
Yes, absolutely. We could not do what we do at the Town Hall without the support of our amazing volunteers.
We currently have around 50 volunteers at the Town Hall who ensure that it runs smoothly. The support of the volunteers will be crucial during the restoration work and after when the Town Hall reopens.
We are always on the lookout for new volunteers, if you are interested, please find out more here, or pop in and speak with us.
17. What role will members of the Town Hall have during the work?
Members are crucial to the operations of the Town Hall. They keep us accountable to the community that we serve – the people of Trowbridge.
Members provide an essential check to ensure that the Town Hall Trust is continuing to provide this benefit and they are a fundamental part of the charitable governance of the Town Hall. Members will continue to have a crucial role, informing the restoration works as the project develops.
If you are interested in becoming a member, please see the membership information here.
18. What about the Town Hall tenants during the renovations?
The businesses in the Town Hall are very important to us and we will work with them to ensure that they can continue to provide for the town during the renovations.
19. What about the Sensory Garden?
Located at the rear of the Town Hall and adjacent to the Trowbridge Park the Sensory Garden is a community garden for the recreation and education of people in Trowbridge.
We have a close working relationship with the charity the Friends of the Sensory Garden, and we will continue to work closely with them before and during the renovation of the Town Hall to ensure that the impact upon tranquillity/use of the garden is mitigated.
20. Will the work on the Town Hall cause any disruption to the town centre?
We will work closely with our neighbours prior to and during the renovation works, and will endeavour to ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum.
21. How can I find out more / how can I get involved?
We will continue to share updates on our progress throughout the project and are committed to being transparent throughout the renovations. There are a number of ways that you can get involved:
- Become a member of the Town Hall – find out more here.
- Become a volunteer – find out more here.
- Keep an eye on our website or follow us on social media – Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
- Pick up a copy of the Town’s newspaper, Celebrate, where we will share regular updates on the project’s progress.
- Drop in and say hi, we are always very happy to show people round and answer any questions – this is your Town Hall.
If you’ve a question that wasn’t answered above, please get in touch with us on email@example.com and we’ll try our best to answer it.