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Guild Hall FAQs and media enquiries

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Can you give the details of the final court settlement?

Details of the settlement are confidential. Preston City Council is now focusing on the future viability of the Guild Hall Preston.

When will it be open to the public?

An opening date cannot be confirmed at this present time. Preston City Council is now in a position to prepare a business case in the hope of securing a long-term, sustainable and profitable future for the building.

Is the panto coming back for Christmas?  

The Council cannot commit to a Christmas panto at this moment in time. Work will need to be undertaken to bring the building back into use and the Council will explore all viable options. Essential maintenance and safety works will need to be carried out before the building can safely reopen to the public.

Who will run it - the Council don't have the money or the expertise and will lose it again.

The Council can't make any commitment at this stage. A business case needs to be written which will set out the future plans of the building and its operations.

What is clear is that in the short term the property needs an injection of public funds to carry out essential repair works to the infrastructure which the Council is able to undertake despite the current budget constraints. However, the Council will have to look at alternative and external funding streams for the mid to long-term future. The Council needs to ensure that the building can be maintained at a reasonable cost and can generate a profit.

Who will be the operating manager?

This has not yet been decided and there is no current deal on the table. The Council is currently looking at a variety of options, and a full tender process will need to be undertaken to engage a suitable managing operator for the building and its use.

How can I apply for a job there?

These will be advertised and filled by the successful managing operator.

How can I apply for a unit there?

Details have not been finalised, but please keep checking our Property Pages for further updates.

Where can I find what's on at the Guild Hall Preston?

No events are currently booked for the Guild Hall. Please check our website for future updates.

What sort of events will be staged there?

A full business case will be prepared to identify what events will be suitable.

How much taxpayers' money has been spent on the court case?

The terms of the settlement are confidential.

The property is going to need a lot of repair work - is this coming out of taxpayers' money?

Preston City Council will be exploring all funding options to bring the building back into use and to ensure it has a profitable and sustainable future.

How long has it been unused?

Approximately four years.

How much is it going to cost to get it refurbished and ready to open?

The Council does not know at this stage, but it has committed some capital funds to start work on essential improvements such as fire safety, access to the building, escalators and stairwells.

Will the walkway connecting to the bus station be open again?

This will be considered as part of the overall opening plans, costs and the viability of the building.

Preston council doesn't care about the Guild Hall - it will be closed again before we know it. How will you ensure it won't close again, next time for good?

The Council understands the significance of the Guild Hall. It is an important part of the city's economy and a key part of the cultural and entertainment which is on offer. The Council will explore all options to ensure a viable and sustainable bright future for the building.

It cost more than £1m a year, pre-2014, to keep the building open. The Council will now need to be creative and look to find the best options available to make the building profitable in the current market conditions. Since the pandemic, the arts and entertainment sectors have been negatively affected and this has had a significant impact on the trading activities of many venues.

Will Level remain in the building?

Level remains outside of the Council's control.

Will there be a launch/reopening event?

It is too early to say at this stage.

When is it likely to reopen fully?

Again it is too early to say at this stage.

Can we book the theatres/area for future shows/events now?

Not yet. Please keep checking our websites for future updates.

What work needs to be carried out to bring it up to scratch?

The Council has already committed some essential capital works to the infrastructure, and for essential upgrades to the fire and safety requirements of the building. These will be carried out as a priority.

Further refurbishment works will need to be undertaken and these will be included in the business case to ensure the future viability of the building. It will then be up to members to scrutinise all the proposals and to find the best and most cost-effective solution based on the existing budget.

Members across all parties are fully supportive of the reopening of the building and will work together to find the best outcome.

External advice will be sought where appropriate.

Other essential works will include upgrades and improvements to the escalators and stairs which are essential for the safe operation of the building prior to opening.

If it hasn't been safe, how come there have been events held in there?

A couple of small events were honoured as part of a previous booking. Risk assessments were carried out to ensure that these events could go ahead safely.

Will UCLan graduations return?

This will depend on discussions with future operators and UCLan.

I am a charity/start-up/social enterprise - can I use one of the empty units for free/low rent?

It is too early to say. Please keep checking our website for further updates.

Are any of the restaurants re-opening?

It is too early to comment. This will be at the discretion of any future operator.

Can I book business events?

It is too early to comment. This will be at the discretion of any new future operator.

Is it DDA compliant?

A full schedule of works will need to be undertaken ahead of any future opening of the building, and this will include all disability access requirements.

Will the Harris still have a presence there or will they move when The Harris reopens?

The Harris is due to reopen in the museum building in 2024 and so the library will be relocated back into its original home when the building re-opens.

Is it for sale?

The Guild Hall Preston is not for sale. The Council is looking for a resilient and economically viable way to secure the future of the building.

A building of this size and structure will attract high operating and maintenance costs and expert management will be required to ensure the future viability of the building. Any managing operator will need to understand the market demand for acts and shows that will drive footfall into the city centre.

What is the timeframe for the works to be carried out?

The Council will look to start the essential works as soon as possible. This will take months, not weeks, as a full report will need to be presented to Council and approved by members. A report of this size will be detailed and will need to set out the various options which will need to be considered.

What is in there at the moment?

The Harris library, IT centre, Revue cocktail bar, Carole May's Academy, The Dance Workshop, Beat Radio.

Mr Lams Chinese restaurant 

The unit is currently being marketed and the other vacant units will be marketed in due course.

For further enquiries, please email guildhallenquiries@preston.gov.uk

 

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