No plans to close Brechin City Hall

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There are no plans to close Brechin City Hall, members of the The City of Brechin and Area Partnership heard at their latest meeting.

Brechiners signed a petition in their thousands in April of last year calling for Angus Council to save the hall.

Speaking at the time of the petition, opposition councillor, Mairi Evans explained to the Brechiner that £1 million had been set aside in the capital budget for the City Hall. However, this money is no longer available.

Representing the concerned members of dramatic and musical societies in Angus Ron Stewart said: “I, like all my members in Brechin, am very, very concerned about the future of the City Hall.

“It’s been allowed to go down in the recent years and I know that a number of years ago it was on the capital budget to be upgraded.

“But, when that time came round, because of the 150th anniversary of the J. M. Barrie in Kirriemuir the Kirrie Town Hall was stepped up and Brechin City Hall has now disappeared off the budget completely.

“Montrose Town Hall has been done up a couple of times, £4 million has been spent on the Webster Theatre in Arbroath, Forfar has an updated Reid Hall and Kirriemuir Town Hall has been done up. Why has Brechin not been done?

“Brechin has a lovely Victorian Hall that has been left go to wrack and ruin.”

Bill Strachan of Angus Council said that the City Hall had never been on the capital plan:

“In my time at the council, since 1996, Brechin City Hall has not been in the capital plan.”

However, in the special budget meeting of Angus Council on February 27, 2008 a number of Angus Alliance priority projects were identified which stated: “There is a provision of £1 million within the property division’s capital programme in later years for the refurbishment of Brechin City Hall.

“Despite there being no budget on the capital plan to bring it up to modern day standards. We continue to spend money and keep it up to health and safety standards,” said Bill.

“We plan to continue to do that.

“I did say at one point in the last meeting that there is merit in looking the efficient use of a variety of council-owned assets in Brechin but there are no plans to do that next week or the week after.

“We are still waiting for the costs to find out how much it would cost to get the City Hall up to standard. We would then meet with the key people in Brechin and that would include all the existing key user groups of the City Hall.

“Brechin has a building that, in terms of delivering modern day facilities, in terms of access, egress and disabled people and a whole range of other things, is hugely difficult to deliver.

“That is why I am looking into detailed costs to find out how much it would cost to do that.

“We are not a million miles away from getting these costs.

“At the minute we have the opportunity to have a whole range of new developments at the High School with the money that is available. Part of that is the provision if arts/drama facilities principally for education purposes but also for education use.

“The council has no plans to close Brechin City Hall.”