Crickhowell’s Clarence Hall will cease to function as a community event venue in less than three years unless major repairs are carried out. That’s the stark warning from the Hall’s Trustees, as they launch a fundraising campaign and prepare grant applications for a £1.9m upgrade of the venue.
Chair of Trustees, Dean Christy, said: “Clarence Hall receives no public funding but, like all historic buildings, requires a constant programme of repair and, from time to time, major refurbishment. The Trustees have worked tirelessly over many years, with very little money to maintain the building for Crickhowell, but the Clarence Hall now needs a major overhaul if it is to continue to serve our community.”
The Trustees say that, over time, the sandstone from which Clarence Hall is constructed has become porous, the whole building needs repointing, a new roof, and new electrics. Woodwork needs to be replaced, and new floors need to be installed.Mr. Christy said: “We want to turn this into an opportunity; we want to transform Crickhowell’s Clarence Hall into the finest event venue in town and the wider area. In doing that, we can create the ability for the Hall to earn enough money to pay for its upkeep in the future, while also providing a wide range of services to local people and visitors. We need one big push now; this can’t wait; the time for action is now.”
The Trustees this week unveil detailed plans for a new bar and kitchen for the Hall, as well as upgrading the toilets, improving the changing facilities, and continuing the upgrade of the audio-visual facilities. A new extension incorporating a ground floor entrance and new access WCs will also make the Hall fully accessible to people with disabilities for the first time.
The total cost of the project is estimated to be between £1.5 and £1.9m. The Trustees hope to gain grants to cover some of this cost but have launched an appeal for the first £100,000 to be raised from the local community, users, and supporters of the hall to demonstrate to funding bodies how much people value the Hall.
Clarence Hall’s longest-serving Trustee, Ann Chamberlain, said: “The Hall has served Crickhowell for generations. Many local residents have been trustees and most of us have either hired it or attended events in the hall. Clarence Hall is part of all our histories, and we need to give it a future, please help us.”
The Trustees have set up a fundraising page on their website, www.clarencehallcrickhowell.org.uk/donate for people who want to support the project.