MIXED opinions have been voiced by Thornbury residents as a public consultation begins to potentially move the Armstrong Hall and library into Turnberrie’s Community Centre.

Two sets of plans have been put forward by Thornbury Town Council and South Gloucestershire Council, with the second proposing a full refurbishment of the Armstrong Hall Complex.

Outline plans suggest that moving to Turnberrie’s and building a two-to-three storey extension, with a 450-seater performance hall would cost £4.5million, with the Armstrong Hall being sold for redevelopment to help meet the price.

Meanwhile, a full refurbishment of the Armstrong Hall would be likely to cost around £3.5million with much of the facility being modernised.

The first of three community engagement meetings took place yesterday at Turnberrie’s, with around 100 residents attending to view the plans and offer their thoughts.

Speaking in support of the proposals to move, Thornbury resident Pauline Darley said: “I think it would be much more practical to move the Armstrong Hall to Turnberrie’s, but I would however, be sorry to see the Cosham Hall go.

“I do think that the idea of moving the library is a bit daft though as it is very central where it is.”

Another resident, who asked not to be named, said: “We need to restore our historical buildings in Thornbury and not turn to using this modern junk.”

Charles Eardley-Wilmott said that a lot of questions about the plans were still unanswered.

“There is still a lot of information about finances and ownership, as well as the future of the library even if it doesn’t move, that we need to know more about.

“They want to make a decision in the autumn but how can the public make a proper decision if they don’t have all the answers?”

Gill Page, chairman of the Thornbury Arts Festival said that if the Turnberrie’s option is approved, Thornbury would lose valuable assets in the form of the Armstrong Hall and Cossham Hall.

Criticising her view that the Turnberrie’s option had been given more favourable treatment in the consultation, she added: “The plans for both options shown on the consultation document have not been given the same amount of thought and, thus, are incredibly biased towards Turnberrie’s.”

“The Armstrong Hall redevelopment should be given the same opportunity as the Turnberrie’s option and looked at more thoroughly to include consultation with the present users so that a more attractive design is offered.”

A town council spokeswoman said: “The consultation is going well and has generated a lot of community interest. We would encourage everyone to attend one of the consultation events or to tell us their views in writing or through our survey before the end of the consultation period.

“The views of local people will influence the decisions that will be made over the coming months on the future of these important community facilities and councillors value the feedback that we are receiving.”

The second event takes place today at Thornbury Library, with the third at the Armstrong Hall tomorrow, both taking place between 2pm and 7pm.

Further information and a link to the online survey is available from each organisations website or www.southglos.gov.uk/consultation

Copies of the consultation survey can also be picked up from Thornbury Town Hall, Thornbury Library, The Armstrong Hall or Turnberrie’s Community Centre throughout the consultation period, which ends on September 29.

Views on the consultation can also be submitted by emailing consultation@southglos.gov.uk or phoning 01454 412103.