Ambitious plans to invest millions of pounds to transform West Bromwich’s historic town hall into a top entertainment venue have been unveiled.
Council chiefs want to turn the High Street building into a venue to rival Wolverhampton Civic Hall. Under the plans, millions of pounds would be spent on installing music and lighting systems.
It is hoped the revamp would encourage more people into the town centre. Sandwell Council bosses are also looking at transforming Wednesbury Town Hall.
Deputy council leader Councillor Mahboob Hussain said today it was hoped that both venues would hold gigs and host comedians, helping to boost the economy of the town centres.
Councillor Hussain, who is also the council’s cabinet member for service improvement, said: “The town hall in West Bromwich is being looked at to receive millions of pounds investment to make it into an arena for comedians and various other shows.
“We are looking at one avenue of it being run by the private sector, not by the council.”
He added that in Wednesbury, the council was working with the community to decide how to make better use of the town hall for local people.
Councillor Hussain said the authority was also considering using the sites as office space.
He added: “We could also make them an arena for comedians and gigs where we can charge – similar to a place like Wolverhampton Civic.
“The third option would be the council not running them and giving them to the voluntary sector to run on a lease instead of those buildings standing empty 89 per cent of the time, where the local community can use them for luncheon clubs, community get-togethers and activities to do with young people.”
He said if the council went down the entertainment route, money would be ploughed into modernising the West Bromwich venue with a music and lighting system. “It could run into millions of pounds, but we cannot afford not to spend it and leave the building empty because longer term it will cost us more.
“We need to get better usage of the buildings rather than them not being used by the wider community,” he added.
He said a decision would be made in the next three to four weeks, with a view to moving the scheme forward by October 2013.
The Grade II-listed West Bromwich Town Hall dates back to 1874.