One of my adjourned questions from January’s MD meeting ‘ Can the Director of Service with overall responsibility for Newbridge Town Hall give his feedback on the recent report from the Management Committee he himself put in place to provide direction on the appropriate and effective use of Newbridge Town Hall? Feedback should include but not limit itself to: the policy contained in the report of ‘wait and see’ how the community use of the hall ‘evolves’ for another year; how long before the ‘operation, management and control’ system the Management Committee want to observe for a full cycle will be in place and; clarification of when the seating, tables and PA system the committee refer to in the report are being delivered?
Here is the Report Issued by: P Minnock, Director of Service, Planning, Community & Culture: The recently circulated report and recommendation from the board of management represents clearly the background, the consultation process and references the outcomes from these processes and makes well founded and considered recommendations as regards policy on future usage. This building, with a protected structure status, is now back to a condition where the community can now enjoy. It has come in for favourable comment from the public who have had occasion to attend functions, events or meetings since the works were completed last May. The board’s report is detailed and has the benefit of reviewing submissions received and open day discussions with the community who attended these sessions. I believe it is reasonable that the council should adopt a measured and considered approach to how it can be used into the future. The Board, through all of its considerations, was fully aware of the strategic policy objectives of KCC that the refurbished Town Hall be used for community activities, be established as an attractive community destination and a community event centre for the town of Newbridge and wider Municipal District of Kildare/Newbridge. To date the building has been used for a variety of events, all helpful to the board during their deliberations. The next stage is to put the operation, management and promotion of usage aspects on a more formal footing. The Service Level Agreement is intended to afford an opportunity to see how the community engage and make use of the facility, and as advised earlier, arrangements are now in place on handover of operations. It seems reasonable to adopt a trial period of one year duration to monitor the operation of the usage policy. It is hoped that the board will stay in place to provide that oversight on behalf of the community. Every opportunity should be used to ensure there are effective arrangements in place for the proper operation of the Hall and that the community now engage so that appropriate activities take place, thus achieving the objectives of the Council in optimising same for the beneficial uses of the community interest. The necessary seating and tables are in place and have been used successfully for a number of events in recent months. An appropriate PA system will be sourced and we expect to finalise that in the next few weeks. It is planned to carry out an interim review mid-year on the anniversary of the handover of the building and agree next steps in terms of gaining most effective management and use of this building.