£1.3m overhaul of Ludlow Assembly Rooms takes major step forward
A £1.3 million overhaul of a town’s main theatre, arts and community centre has taken a major step forward.
Shropshire Council has put out a tender for an architect to work on the project at Ludlow Assembly Rooms (LAR).
The plans include converting the ground floor into a cafe and a new box office, and installing new systems to make the building more energy efficient.
Helen Hughes, chief executive of the venue in Mill Street, said the investment will safeguard the popular attraction for years to come.
“LAR is right at the heart of the community in Ludlow and we’re very excited to be able to make it fit for purpose for the next 25 years,” she said. “It’s a plan we’ve been working on since 2009 so it’s now or never basically. We’ve still got a bit more money to find but we’re confident we will find that, and hope all the work will be completed in 2018.
“LAR will be 25-years-old next year so this project means we can continue to provide community and arts event for all the local people.”
The centre opened its doors in May 1993 in the restored former Assembly Rooms, and was the result of five years of tireless campaigning by a group of local people who believed that the community deserved its own place of entertainment. It now shows a film or live event every night and a study by Sheffield University in 2005 found LAR supports the local economy to the tune of £3m a year.
Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for culture and leisure, said: “This tender is to appoint an architect as part of an European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) project that we are jointly working on with LAR.
“Shropshire Council owns the building and LAR have a lease. The project involves new mechanical and electrical systems to make the building more energy efficient and to reduce carbon emissions. An additional project, which will be run by LAR in conjunction with the ERDF project, will see the ground floor converted into a café and a new box office.”