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Discounts for hire of Devizes venues to be reviewed
Devizes Town Council is to review its policy of giving free and discounted hire of the town hall and Corn Exchange.
A report to the latest meeting of council’s community and civic resources committee outlined that the value of free or discounted use in 2012/13 was £25,528.
This including free bookings for 16 Devizes Festival events £5,846 plus £996 for four Devizes carnival events.
Other groups to have benefited from free hire include the local twinning association, the Blues N Zuz discos, Devizes Development Partnership and the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society.
The town council itself used the venues free of charge for its own meetings and special events, which totalled £4,708.
The report by deputy town clerk Simon Fisher says: “Historically the town council have used the venues to support activities and organisations which benefit the community of Devizes. It does this in a number of ways, however, for some organisations and activities the criteria is not met.
“Once the council has given an organisation free use of its venues, there is no further constrain on that organisation to acknowledge the council’s contribution and therefore much of what the council does to support the community goes unnoticed.
“The committee needs to decide if it feels the current arrangement under which the council supports the community by giving free use of its venues is appropriate or if it wishes to make any changes to these arrangements.”
The committee agreed to Coun Ted East’s recommendation that a working party of five councillors be set up to examine the different policies in detail and report back to the committee.
Following the deferral the committee considered requests from Devizes Junior Eisteddfod for free hire of the town hall for its event in November, which this year has extended to two days, and for discounted hire of the Corn Exchange by White Horse Opera.
The committee agreed to free hire for the Eisteddfod. White Horse Opera, which already has 20 per cent discount, for its hiring of the Corn Exchange asked for a further concession to bring its hire cost down from £4,700 last year to £2,500 but the committee agreed to reduce it to £3,500.
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