Preston Guild Hall returns to Preston City Council

Source: Preston City Council 21 June 2019

The administrator appointed for Preston Guild Hall, Beverley Budsworth, has formally agreed to forfeiture of the 999 year lease for the venue to Preston Guild Hall Limited, due to significant breaches of the lease agreement. This decision returns Preston Guild Hall to Preston City Council ownership, effective immediately.

The Special Urgency Decision to re-claim Preston Guild Hall was taken by the Preston City Council Leader, Matthew Brown with agreement from Chair of Overview and Scrutiny, Preston Conservative Leader Sue Whittam and Chief Executive Adrian Phillips. All agreed that this decision was in the best interests of the city and the council.

Leader of Preston City Council, Councillor Matthew Brown said,

“Over recent weeks it has become abundantly clear that it was necessary for the City Council to intervene and re-gain control of the property. We are absolutely committed to finding the best possible solution for the future of the Guild Hall, and our ultimate hope is that it is back up and running as an entertainment venue as soon as possible.

As I have said before, the decision to transfer the Guild Hall into Mr Rigby’s ownership was the only viable decision we could make at the time, with the information we had and the stark financial situation we were in. We acted in good faith and have been let down by the unacceptable behaviour of Mr Rigby.

As we move forward, we are putting considerable effort into supporting the re-opening and successful future of Preston Guild Hall, but can only work within the current budget position of the Council. We continue to be ambitious for the role of the Guild Hall within the city and are confident for the extensive regeneration that is currently taking place across Preston.”

Leader of Preston Conservative Party, Councillor Sue Whittam said,

“It is disappointing that taking this decision was necessary, but it is clearly the right step for Preston City Council to take. We are united in our commitment to find an affordable solution for Preston Guild Hall that meets the needs of the city.”

Leader of Preston and Wyre Liberal Democrats Party, Councillor John Potter said,

“We have to view this as a new opportunity for the city. Preston City Council has made the best decision it could in the current circumstances and now we have to work together to find a viable solution that is in the best interests of the city, the council and its residents.”

As this forfeiture renders all sub-leases of outlets within the Guild Hall null and void, the City Council is committed to working with the current tenants to ensure a seamless transition and minimal disruption.

 NOTES TO EDITORS:

  • The Charter Theatre and Grand Hall will remain closed until further notice. Enquiries regarding the previously advertised programme and tickets need to be directed towards the administrator.
  • Special measures may need to be applied to any tenant or organisation linked to Simon Rigby.
  • In line with the administrator’s position, Preston City Council does not recognise any supposed lease linking Mr Rigby’s charity to Preston Guild Hall.
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