AN UPDATE has been released on plans to reopen a popular community venue in Thornbury which closed three years ago.

The Armstrong Hall complex in Chapel Street, which included Armstrong Hall and Cossham Hall, closed three years ago during the pandemic due to ongoing costs.

The much-loved site was a hub for theatre, music and community groups with a wide range of performances, productions and activities taking place.

Since then, many groups have had to relocate outside of town such as Thornbury Musical Theatre Group or to smaller venues within the area.

The Armstrong Hall Trust, which owns and manages the halls, hosted a public meeting at Thornbury Baptist Church last Thursday, December 7.

The trust also owns the building that currently houses the Thornbury and District Museum plus the nearby Miss Saise's Cottage.

It is hoped that a new venue - either a refurbished Armstrong Hall or a new building next to the Turnberries on Bath Road - will eventually provide a home for groups, bringing events back into Thornbury.

Gazette Series: The Armstrong Hall complex - photo by Doug FowlerThe Armstrong Hall complex - photo by Doug Fowler (Image: Doug Fowler)

Three different groups launched 

As part of the project, the trust has formed three different working groups to investigate various options for the site's future.

This includes a first group which is currently investigating demolishing and then carrying out a full and complete rebuild of Armstrong Hall, which would have seating for around 500 people.

It is understood this would leave Cossham Hall and the museum untouched.

The same group says they are also looking into a second option of carrying out an extensive refurbishment of both halls, with new-build additions to the Armstrong Hall.

However, both proposals are expensive with costs estimated between £3.3 million to £7.3 million.

Meanwhile, a second group is working to reopen the complex as soon as possible.

In addition, they are working on a new business plan which is hoped will ensure an "optimal long-term outcome" for all stakeholders.

Lastly, the third group is looking into selling the Armstrong Hall site and building a new venue on land next to the Turnberries.

If the site were to be sold, it would be estimated to between £1 million and £1.5 million.

Meanwhile, it is believed the new building near the Turnberries would have seating for around 350 people and might include changing rooms, kitchen, toilets, showers, a cafe or bar.

In addition, it was also announced that the trust is selling the historic Miss Saise's Cottage, which is located between the Age UK office and number 69 on the High Street.

Gazette Series: Stage view of Armstrong Hall Stage view of Armstrong Hall (Image: Armstrong Hall Action Alliance)

Trust statement 

Vice-chair of the trust James Murray said: "The Armstrong Hall trust were delighted with the turnout for our public meeting held last week.

"The meeting was called to disseminate the recent work the trust has been doing since the local elections in May, explain the current project, hear an update from the various working groups and discuss plans for the near future.

"We had some brilliant feedback and input from the passionate and knowledgeable public in attendance.

"We will be using information gathered to help shape the next couple of month's work.

"We would like to thank Thornbury Baptist church for allowing us to use their space for the meeting."

Next steps will include an appraisal stage.

Another public meeting is due to take place in late March next year.

You can read more about the trust's plans here -