Should a Town Hall Be Free For Community Groups?

As the Cornwall Councillor for both Porthleven and Helston South I have a unique insight into two local councils. In Helston there has been a ‘slight’ issue on the use of Guildhall by a certain community group for free.

At Helston Town Council the question being raised is should the Twinning Association have use of the Guildhall for free whilst others have to pay for it? My view is all community groups should be able to use a public building like a town hall for free. After all, this building belongs to the people, and a town council are just the custodians of that building. However, if a group is of a commercial nature there should be a charge, it does not have to be market rates, but some sort of payment.

In Porthleven the town council allows, on request, community groups to use the town offices for free. These groups are not there for profit, but the good of the community. So they should and are allowed to have access to this public building. It is a small meeting room, and if a larger room is required the Public Hall offers larger spaces at very reasonable prices.

Whilst a town council take priority over the use of a building, it should be made available to others that benefit the town. Again in Porthleven, the council kindly allows me to use the office for surgeries and other meetings. It also allows the local PCSO to hold surgeries every Monday morning. This is a good way of using a public building for the public.

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