ECOTRICITY founder Dale Vince has revealed details of his bid to buy Stroud’s iconic Sub Rooms.

Speaking to the SNJ this week, Mr Vince fleshed out the plans and insisted he was on a mission to ‘save’ the building, which was built nearly 200 years ago with public donations.

“This is all about keeping the long-term future of the Sub Rooms financially secure,” said Mr Vince.

“It is a bid to save the building.

“We aim to maintain the public use aspect of it and use it in the day for our staff.

“Everything else is in need of investigation, we remain flexible.

“And we have also committed to the maintenance plan over the next five to 10 years which has set out areas that need to be fixed.”

Mr Vince described his plans as a ‘hybrid’ application.

“Our aim is to use it for staff purposes during the week, when large parts of it – especially upstairs – are unused, and we would keep it open for public use at the weekend, as it already is,” he said.

“One of the current issues with the venue is its size.

“It is almost an in-between, larger than some but smaller than others, making it a difficult size to use – but that is not my area of expertise.

“It fits around 200-300 people but for many events that isn’t enough.

“What we have found at Forest Green Rovers is that you must make use of the site throughout the week, not just for a few hours each week or every other week for a match – you need to make the most of how much it is used.

“We’ve been told there are 30/40 shows a year, and even if you up that a little it’s still only one show a week, that’s not enough usage.

“We’ve got to help, to take responsibility for it, bring in a few changes and keep it open.”

Stroud News and Journal:

Mr Vince said the company would not run the venue (pictured above by Simon Pizzey) at arm’s length, simply with its name on the door.

“That’s just not how we do things,” he said.

The venue is also home to the Tourist Information Centre, which Mr Vince says Stroud Town Council has offered to run in

Mr Vince said he was ‘agnostic’ about retaining the service and Mr Twitchett’s cafe at the venue.

Earlier this year it was feared the cafe would be closed and its staff made redundant due to operating costs but this proved not to be the case.

Late last year Stroud District Council - which owns the Sub Rooms - was forced to look into alternative options to run the venue after operating costs rose to above £400,000 a year.

It is considering whether it will retain the venue with a set of cost-saving changes, transfer it to a community group or sell it on the market – where it is currently featured for a £600,000 asking price.

SDC will finalise its decision later this year after considering each option fully.

Stroud Trust is the only other body to submit a plan after the ‘expression of interest’ phase.

The trust is made up of a series of experts in various fields.

Stroud Town Council gave the trust a £10,000 grant to develop a business plan.