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Devizes hall use may no longer be for free
1:00pm Saturday 14th September 2013 in News
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 placed a value of £25,528 on free or discounted use in 2012/13.
This included free bookings for 16 Devizes Festival events – £5,846 – plus £996 for four Devizes carnival events. Other groups that benefited from free hire included the twinning association, Blues ‘n’ Zuz discos, Devizes Development Partnership and the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society.
The town council itself used the venues free for its own meetings and events, which totalled £4,708.
The report by deputy town clerk Simon Fisher said: “Historically the town council has 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 constraint on that organisation to acknowledge the council’s contribution, so much of what the council does to support the community goes unnoticed.
“The committee needs to decide if it feels the current arrangement 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 issue and report back to the committee.
After 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.
It agreed to free hire for the Eisteddfod. White Horse Opera, which already has a 20 per cent discount when hiring the Corn Exchange, asked to bring its hire cost down from £4,700 last year to £2,500. The committee agreed to reduce it to £3,500.
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