THERE is much talk and difference of opinions regarding the sale of the Sub Rooms.

There seem to be two camps - one that support Ecotricity buying it to become and office and a public venue, and the other believes it should stay as it is.

There definitely needs to be change - it costs the council too much money, and few people use it.

On paper, a publicly supported art centre with a theatre, bar, café, rooms for hire and tourist information, placed in the centre of a culturally engaged socially active community should be a hive of activity.

Stroud has a thriving events calendar, a need for venues for activities for young and old, (yoga classes, ballet, judo), weddings, public meetings, a central hub for all things Stroud.

We want music, drama, dance, comedy, films, poetry, art, beer, coffee, food, market stalls - a central meeting focus to our community, so how has the Sub Rooms failed?

Ecotricity are not the right people to do this.

They are not in the arts and culture business.

They are a great local company but the Sub Rooms is owned by the people, and is for the community, it has no place in private hands.

The proposal also suggests that the first floor, or the main hall will office space.

Surly this is the venue for big events?

This is where the Beatles played twice.

It should have music, drama, speakers, and comedy booked out regularly.

The Sub Rooms needs a dynamic programme and a team with the enthusiasm and vision to reach its potential, booking the right events, promoting to the right audiences, engaging with the people.

Stroud District Council needs to recruit that team and leadership.

The programming and promotion of events is rubbish and the layout of the ground floor needs a complete redesign.

Towns across the country, with smaller populations, less money and narrower demographics have thriving art centres, bustling with activity.

Even in the local area, venues such as the Prince Albert, Prema the Marshall Rooms and SVA are programming much better social events.

Regular events such as the farmers’ market, Site Festival and the Fringe Festival demonstrate that not only is our community eager to support socially engaged activities, but that Stroud is growing as a destination for a wider audience, and I believe that with the right management, the Subscription Rooms will underpin Stroud’s reputation as a cultural destination and could become a successful arts centre once again.

Robert Bermingham