STROUD Town Council is backing a new community trust which hopes to take over ownership of the Subscription Rooms as an arts and entertainment hub.

It has agreed to provide a grant of up to £10,000 to the emerging Stroud Trust group to enable them to develop a business plan for the arts venue.

The town council has also agreed that it would take on the freehold of the venue to ensure it remains in public ownership.

Earlier this year Stroud District Council revealed the Sub Rooms’ future was under review following cuts in government funding. 

It is considering three options: retain the venue, hand over to a

community organisation or sell it on the open market.

The town council hosted a public meeting where people were heavily in favour of either SDC or the town council holding the freehold of the venue and offering the leasehold to a community interest group or trust.

Organisations have to submit business plans to the district council by mid-September.

Two groups that made expressions of interest have combined forces to create the Stroud Trust.

Other organisations may submit bids and SDC will make the final decision.    

Stroud mayor Kevin Cranston said the town council was supporting the trust because it was the strongest, most credible option. 

“From the beginning the town council has supported the option that the Sub Rooms remain in public ownership and run by a trust or organisation that has experience in this field,” he said.