STROUD District Council (SDC) has published its report into the future of the Subscription Rooms amid accusations of ‘secrecy’ and calls to halt current process.

The report outlines recommendations for the future of the landmark.

Recommendations were agreed by the majority of the eight councillors on the cross-party task and finish group.

District councillors on the strategy and resources committee will consider the report at a meeting on December 5, and it will inform their final decision.

However, last week a cross-party alliance of district councillors signed a requisition for an extraordinary meeting of SDC.

During the meeting councillors will call for at halt to the current process and request a review of the ‘secretive group’ which is overseeing the review.

Councillors are yet to receive a response to their request.

District councillor Norman Kay (Green, Nailsworth) said: “We have questions over the secrecy attached to the deliberations and the absence of recorded minutes which are contrary to good governance.

“There has also been a lack of genuine consultation with the public.

“Even more important, the discussion and decision should be held at a meeting of the full council where transparency prevails.”

Two of the eight task and finish members - Cllr Martin Baxendale (Green, Valley Ward) and Cllr Jonathan Edmunds (Green, Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe) have also issued a statement stating their concerns.

They assert that members were ‘unduly pressured to reach a quick decision’ and that the final recommendation was reached with ‘no formal decision matrix employed, and no votes taken on the issues and bids being presented to the group in its final meeting.’ Cllr Baxendale also claims that alternative recommendation for the building’s future is being ‘sat on’ and not circulated to other district councillors.

“Secrecy and cover-ups surrounding the review continue despite all the controversy and objections,” he said.

Aside from responses to the three bids, included in the report is confirmation of the majority decision that the historic building should be transferred to Ecotricity.

The forecourt is included in the sale.

But questions from the public about whether the building would be protected for public and cultural use in the event of the resale of the property being have not been addressed.

SDC leader Steve Lydon clarified the council’s position, saying: “I wish to make it clear that no decision has yet been made."

He explained that the task and finish group had considered bids according to the criteria agreed at the strategy and resources committee in January. “Any solution should not only improve the cost effectiveness for the public but also seek to retain its availability to the public for cultural use,” he said.

  • A public consultation takes place at the Sub Rooms on Saturday, November 18, from 9.30am to 1pm for discussion and feedback.
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