Falkirk Town Hall problems highlighted

Falkirk Town Hall
Falkirk Town Hall

Replacing Falkirk Town Hall will have to wait until a new municipal building is built.

Although a senior councillor admits the replacement is much-needed and long-awaited, he said cash is not there.

The venue was built in 1965 and has only had minor refurbishments since then.

It comes as Falkirk Council’s scrutiny committee heard admissions to the hall, operated by Falkirk Community Trust, fell in the first quarter of 2013/14 compared to the same period in 2012/13 from 19,428 to 17,247.

This was blamed on a reduced cinema programme, fewer dance classes and and a drop in the number of community group shows. However, over the entire year visitor numbers increased by 5000 from 2012 to 2013 thanks to popular shows by CBeebies’ ‘Chris and Pui’ and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Councillor John McLuckie said: “I’d like to know how many times the venue was used. I walk past it often and it’s lying unused most weekdays. We should be trying to find more groups to hire out to - it could be used for council training days and by the NHS.

“We are paying to heat and run it anyway. If we are going to replace it, we need to make sure it suits every activity.”

Speaking after the meeting, Provost Pat Reid admitted the hall needs to be demolished and said he’d like to see a multi- purpose facility in it’s place.

“FTH is looking very tired and needs replaced but the municipal offices have priority. The stage is old and very high and people complain the acoustics aren’t great. Parking is very limited which can put people off hiring.

“I’d love to see a brand new civic centre in Falkirk town centre the whole community could benefit from, but I’ve no idea when the finances will be there to do it.”

FTH’s main hall, studio and meeting room were hired out 481 times during 2013, 24 per cent up on the previous 

Voice Jam owner Chris Judge, who uses the town hall for shows, said: “Yes, the building looks past its best from the outside but I think it’s still a great venue. It is expensive to hire out which must price many groups out.

“If it was replaced I’d love to see a media centre, with hall, dance studios and rehearsal space. It would open it up to lots more users.”