Falkirk Town Hall switch leads to drama

Falkirk Town Hall.
Falkirk Town Hall.

Falkirk’s leading arts and drama venue could be replaced by a 400-seat auditorium within a new multi-million pound college campus.

Early discussions have taken place between Forth Valley College, Falkirk Council and Falkirk Community Trust to investigate creating a shared facility at the college’s planned £70m campus at Middlefield.

The plan is part of proposals to deliver a new local authority headquarters and possibly a town hall in the coming years to replace the West Bridge Street buildings.

Last week, elected members were asked to enter into an agreement with the college so that the option could be properly considered.

But councillors clashed over the plans, with non-aligned and SNP members dismissing the college option as “unambitious”.

Councillor Brian McCabe said: “This is a red herring.

“If we are going to replace the town hall, we should be looking at an 800 to 1200-seat facility.

“A 400-seat auditorium is not ambitious enough. If you go to a prizegiving at a local high school, that will have more than 400 people.”

Tom Coleman of the SNP said: “Civic aspiration has hit rock bottom with this.”

Administration councillors insisted that the opportunity to consider the proposal was worthy of investigation.

Labour’s Adrian Mahoney said: “If we don’t take this opportunity, this window will close.”

His colleague Dennis Goldie added: “We are not committed to the building of a new town hall and we are bringing it back to consultation.

“But if there is an opportunity we should look at it.”

Council agreed to participate in a business case and options exercise with a report coming back to council on October 7 following an amendment.

Members also agreed no further contractual work will be entered into for the new HQ until after the public consultation.