ECOTRICITY’S bid for the Sub Rooms has been recommended by Stroud District Council task and finish group members.

The recommendation was discussed at a Stroud Town Council last night, with members stating that it was already public knowledge.

Councillors understood the need for confidentiality prior to the recommendation but stated that now it has been made, it should be fully transparent.

Town councillors are now calling for all of the bids to be made public to ensure there is complete transparency in Stroud District Council’s consultation about the venue’s future.

As a result, STC has published its proposal – in conjunction with the Stroud Trust – on its website.

The Sub Rooms would be set to close for a year if the Stroud Trust bid is successful, to allow for refurbishments and repairs.

All staff would be let go, and staff would be rehired one-to-two months prior to the venue reopening in June 2019.

Its business plan forecasts that the venue will not make a profit until year four.

Their forecast relies on a potential 100 per cent business relief as a charity, a £50,000 contribution from the town council and a further £6,000 for legal fees, and a grants from SDC totalling £450,000.

Its projected profit loss is as follows for the next five years: Year one, -£85,610, year two, -£62,489, year three, -£25,579, year four, £7,843 and year five, £24,597.

The Trust also states that this would become just one of the assets and venues it seeks to manage.

It would also introduce a ‘Friends of the Sub Rooms’ scheme with benefits and discounts for those who join.

STC would lease the venue to the Trust for 30 years, and the closures would begin from around April-June next year, if the bid is successful.

Both Ecotricity and SDC remain tight-lipped on the ‘reveal’.

Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, said: "We have no idea what the recommendation is and will wait for the District Council to announce that.”

Mr Vince fleshed out his plans for the venue earlier this month, stating that his bid was a hybrid one.

The building's ballroom would act as a meeting place for the company’s cirque 700 staff – based in Wallbridge, Kendrick Street and soon the former tax office – during the daytime hours in the week.

In the evenings and weekends this area would be available for the public, and the entire downstairs facilities would remain open access seven days a week.

Meanwhile, an SDC spokesman said: “No decision will be made until the strategy and resources committee on December 5. The report will be made public around November 17.”

Stroud News and Journal:

Stroud district councillor Martin Baxendale (Green, Stroud Valley) attended last night’s meeting and voiced his frustrations, stating that keeping the recommendation secret was “incredibly anti-democratic and insulting.”

“The recommendation has already leaked, and is leaking, to more and more people on the district and town councils and other interested parties and is generating a lot of discussion,” said Cllr Baxendale, who is a member of the task and finish group set up to assess the Sub Rooms plans.

“But it was still being kept secret from the general public, who should have their say, and not just at the last minute but now.

“I told the town councillors that I was really glad that they had decided to make the recommendation public because it seems to me that the only reason the recommendation was being kept secret until November 18 was to try to stifle and minimise public debate about it.

“I felt this was incredibly anti-democratic and insulting to the people of Stroud who were being kept in the dark until the very last minute before the final decision.”

Town councillors raised concerns about the consultation process and the “lack of time for the public and community organisations to comment on the bids.”

“The town council is committed to genuine public consultation and disclosure,” said town mayor Kevin Cranston.

“Councillors believe that transparency is absolutely essential for a healthy democracy.

“We recognise the enormous financial pressures that the district council faces, but its original reason for reviewing the future of the Sub Rooms was to save it losing money running the venue, not to make a profit from its sale.

“In all public consultations so far, the community has overwhelmingly backed the Sub Rooms remaining in public ownership, and we the town council are committed to achieving that.”

Stroud News and Journal:

The Trust’s bid would include opening up the area behind the George Room for a large bar and café, and remove the bar from the Kendrick Room to create a space for public events.

Mr Twitchett’s Café would be replaced with a large commercial kitchen area.

SDC was forced to look into the future of its continued ownership of the Sub Rooms last year after costs reached £400,000.

It may keep the venue but introduce cost-saving measures, pass it to a community trust, or sell it for £600,000 on the open market.

Prior to the final decision on the Sub Rooms, there will be a public event on Saturday, November 18 from 9.30am to 3.30pm at which the report from SDC officers will be published, along with their recommendation.

Members of the public can comment on this report and their views will be collated for members of the strategy of resources committee to help the decision-making process.

To view Stroud Trust’s bid in full visit