“We’d never get this again - we’ve got to fight to keep it” - that is the message from the business associate leading a project to revamp Market Rasen Festival Hall.
Business associate Nicola Marshall, who is leading the project on behalf of Market Rasen Town Council, has warned the public needs to get behind a campaign to get funding for renovations - or the hall could be lost forever.
She said: “We’d never get this again. We’ve got to fight to keep it but make it fit for the 21st century.
“Twenty per cent of people in Market Rasen don’t have a car so it’s important to have things on their doorstep.”
The community hall, built in 1972, needs extensive work, including a new weather-proof roof, which is estimated to cost £100,000 alone.
The council plans to apply for Big Lottery funding to turn the hall into a vibrant venue that hosts a range of cultural events.
But first it must demonstrate how desperately residents need the facility.
Ms Marshall said various events will be put on over the coming months. Initial ideas include themed disco nights for adults, antique collectors fayre, soft play, youth activities, productions, new age kurling and keep fit classes.
She said: “We need people to support the things we put on.
“We want more public community events, but need the town to support them.”
Earlier this month designers’ plans of what a new-look hall could look like were unveiled to the public.
Ms Marshall said: “It’s got the potential to be much more commercial.
“It’s got the potential for more regional events.”
Designer Ian Hind, who has been appointed by the town council, said: “It’s not a building that invites you in.
“We want to make it more welcoming and give it more uses.”
Ms Marshall launched a survey and residents from around the area have had their say on the future of the venue.
Speaking at the start of the project, Market Rasen Mayor John Matthews said: “With investment and some TLC we know that the Festival Hall has a bright future as the go to venue for the area – a vibrant hub for the town.”
Paul Hiley, of Market Rasen New Life Church, said: “I’m excited to see the improvements proposed.
“As regular users of the hall we would like to see radical improvements.”
But Mr Hiley has some concerns.
He said: “My fear is that we could spend a lot of money and end up with something not radically more attractive than we already have.
“My proposal would be ‘knock it down and start again’.”
Ms Marshall will now write a final report with recommendations.
This will be given to the town council, which will then decide on its next step.