Long-term future for Abingdon’s Guildhall as a ‘community hub’

The long-term future of the Guildhall in Abingdon could be secured as part of an agreement by Oxfordshire County Council and Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council to develop a ‘community hub’ in the building and the surrounding area.

Oxfordshire County Council already runs services in Abingdon, including the library and a children and families centre. As part of the agreement to work together, the county council will be looking at the best way to provide services in its existing public buildings.

Cllr Lorraine Lindsay-Gale, Cabinet Member for Property, Cultural & Community Services, said:

“I want to see the Guildhall once again become a valued and loved community asset for Abingdon. There is an opportunity to create a vibrant community hub around the Guildhall, which joins up public services and community uses in this part of the town.

“We will be looking at all the options with the town council and we would welcome ideas from people locally. We would expect the town council as owners of the Guildhall to consult fully with residents before any final decision was taken.”

Following the two councils’ decision to work together, the next step is to set up a joint working group to look at options. The working group will want to talk to all public service providers in Abingdon to look for ways to join up services and make the most of publicly owned buildings in the area.

The working group will also want to talk to voluntary organisations in the area and look at ways to increase community use of buildings.

Cllr Mike Badcock, Leader of Abingdon Town Council, said:

“We welcome the opportunity to work with the county council to secure the long-term future of the Guildhall and provide better community services for the people of Abingdon. The town council has looked at all the options but we believe that we can only find a financially sustainable solution by working with other public service organisations.”

The partnership between Oxfordshire County Council and Abingdon Town Council is part of the county council’s new property strategy to find ways to join up public services and make the best use of buildings in public ownership.