Thornbury's Armstrong Hall will remain closed for the 'foreseeable future', with five jobs being lost as a result.

The Armstrong Hall Trust announced yesterday (Wednesday, June 25) that they could not afford to reopen the hall, which has been closed since March, nor continue to employ the staff.

This has led to five redundancies, three of which are part time, with one job saved due to redeployment to Thornbury Town Council.

The hall is administered by the Armstrong Hall Charitable Trust, of which the town council is sole trustee, and is managed by the Armstrong Hall Management Committee - made up of councillors and representatives from groups who use the hall.

Despite receiving grants from the town council and South Gloucestershire Council, the Trust say there has been a 'severe negative financial impact' on bookings income and is a lack of further options for external funding.

A number of events due to take place in the hall, such as Thornbury Jazz Festival, were cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

A statement from the Trust said: "Even if allowed to operate again this year, some users had already advised the Hall that they did not plan to return for the foreseeable future due to vulnerable users or social distancing making their usual bookings impossible to take place.

"The Trust has also been advised that some of the redevelopment funding that was part of their plans has now closed and consequently costly and disruptive maintenance works will now need to be undertaken to the existing buildings.

"As such the Trust cannot anticipate a short term option where it can afford to run the business without incurring a significant deficit in funds, and as the Armstrong Hall is owned and run by a charity, the Trust could not allow this to happen."

The Trust is currently contacting all affected hirers and has formed a working group which is taking professional advice on its options for the way forward.

Jayne Stansfield, chair of the Armstrong Hall Trust said: “Unfortunately the Trust could not have predicted this pandemic and have found ourselves in a difficult situation with limited options. The Trust would like to thank the staff and our customers for their commitment and loyalty and would like to express our deep regret with the route we have had no choice but to take.”

Clive Parkinson, chair of the Trust’s redevelopment working group, said: “It is important for the future of Thornbury, that as the town grows it has the community facilities to enable it to thrive.

"The Armstrong Hall Trust will continue to investigate all possible options to create a venue that is suitable for the deserving community.

"We will continue with great effort; despite the hard and difficult climate we have all found ourselves in as a result of the pandemic.”