Wiltshire Council have updated on the next steps involved in reopening City Hall, Salisbury as an entertainment venue.

Condition surveys on the building show that it will require around £2m in repairs to return the building to a useable condition, however, the council is now starting the formal procurement process of looking for a third-party provider to operate the venue on its behalf. This follows on from soft market testing that took place earlier in the year and is deemed to be the best option to safeguard the venue's future and provide long-term financial stability.

The council will be going to market where interested parties are invited to engage and explain more about the outcomes they'd like to achieve, and the nature of any future arrangement working with the council to operate the venue.

As part of this process, the council will also look to hold a City Hall market engagement event for potential operators who share the council's vision to discuss their ideas for possible solutions and delivery. The outcome of the procurement process will help inform the council whether it spends the circa £2m on the repairs required to the venue or looks at a possible larger improvement if that would make City Hall more functional and viable.

The council also confirmed that, following further investigation, it is not a viable option to move the library and Young Gallery to a refurbished City Hall site, as there wouldn't be enough space and it would be detrimental to each of the three venues as a result.

Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council said: We appreciate people's enthusiasm and passion to reopen City Hall quickly but when it does open its doors again, we want it to be around for the long-term. Therefore, it's vital we continue to carry out our due diligence, particularly as the national financial picture continues to be challenging, as we really want to make a long-term success of the venue.

Following our soft market testing earlier in the year, this next part of the process for City Hall is an important step in the project to reopen it as a modern and vibrant entertainment venue. Getting in a third-party provider to work alongside us with the right expertise is a key priority for us and we look forward to engaging with potential operators with likeminded approaches to reopening a thriving City Hall. As part of this process, we will be holding a market engagement event with potential providers, more details of which will be confirmed in due course.

For all the latest information on the City Hall, including responses to Freedom of Information requests, people can visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk/salisbury-city-hall.