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Discussions on future of Newbury Corn Exchange begin

Funding pressures could see West Berkshire Council transfer ownership of building

Chris Ord


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Newbury corn exchange AB

WEST Berkshire Council and The Corn Exchange Trust have begun talks which could lead to ownership of the landmark Newbury building being transferred to the Trust.

The discussions come just weeks after the cash-strapped local authority said it would be reducing annual funding to the Corn Exchange by £78,000.

Co-director at the Corn Exchange Grant Brisland said the trust had asked West Berkshire Council to consider transferring the ownership of the building to the Trust in an attempt to safeguard its future in a climate of continued funding reductions.

Mr Brisland added: “We understand that ongoing annual funding is going to be a huge challenge for West Berkshire Council and our proposal offers a solution that reduces their liability whilst ensuring that the Corn Exchange’s creative offer in the district will continue to thrive.”

The performing arts venue is owned by West Berkshire Council but has been run by the Trust since the year 2000.

The council will continue to provide annual funding of £174,000 until 2018/19.

A decision on the future of the building will be made by the end of 2017 and will include a period of public consultation to give local people a chance to have their say.

Speaking on behalf of West Berkshire Council, Culture and Libraries Manager Paul James said: “We are grateful to the Corn Exchange for understanding the difficult position we find ourselves in and look forward to continue working with them in the coming years.”

The Corn Exchange, recently announced a partnership with Greenham Common Trust to develop a new visual arts and crafts facility at Greenham Business Park, and the launch of a new Learning Centre in Market Place.

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Article comments

  • Campanula

    09/05/2017 - 09:09

    If we don't all chip in to fund places like the Corn Exchange they will end up closing down. That leaves kids from poorer families in the area unable even to see the local panto, however interested in theatre they might be (and it's not only rich people who are interested in 'the arts'). Richer families will always be able to afford a trip to Reading or the West End, if the local theatres have gone. That's not fair. The Corn Exchange does screenings for people with disabilities, and screenings for older people, and for people with babies, and I feel it's doing its best to be inclusive and supportive of the local community. I go there quite a bit. I'm proud to have it.


  • NewburyLad

    08/05/2017 - 16:04

    Message to "Spotted Newbury &Thatcham" in the facebook postings below - How much extra council tax or national tax are YOU prepared to pay each month to ensure that the Corn Exchange operates to your requirements? Or put another way, why do you expect the tax payer, council and national, to keep paying for arts funding? Arts should be funded for by the users of said arts and by the rich luvvies in the "arts" industry including film, theatre and music owners/producers. I am sick of hearing the left aka Labour and Liberal Undemocrats coming on here bleating about everything under the sun but then never putting forward anything positive provide fixes.


    • NWNThatcham

      09/05/2017 - 13:01

      W.Berks population is 154000. To raise £78000 is 50pence per person. I'm happy to pay that even if I don't use it directly as it's obvious to anyone that there are indirect benefits associated with a vibrant town, hosting cultural & arts events. Those pubs and restaurants in town all benefit from the Corn Exchange. Assessing its "value" based on its Profit/Loss is ridiculously short sighted.


    • Bombey

      09/05/2017 - 13:01

      yes - all we need is SKY.


  • quadnewbury

    08/05/2017 - 16:04

    It will probably end up as another burger bar or coffee shop