End of an era as the town bids goodbye to council chamber


The final meeting of Southborough Town Council in the old chamber at 137 London Road was held on Thursday (February 23).

The council chamber, attached to Royal Victoria Hall, is set to be demolished to make way for the £30million Southborough Hub development.

Town Mayor, David Elliot said the meeting was ‘in many ways a sad occasion’ but that he is ‘extremely optimistic’ about the hub project, which ‘will revitalise the centre’ of the town.

The hall was erected to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria and was officially opened on January 17 1900.

The prospective ‘town hub’ will contain a medical centre, a theatre building with flexible space, a library and a new council chamber. Although the demolition of the historic Royal Victoria Hall has been met with some resistance.

Council meetings will be held at Southborough CoE School until the Hub is ready in 2019.

Last year, 5,000 people signed a petition to save the building. Conversely a later public consultation on the plans found that 58 per cent of respondents favoured a new build.

Jason Reeves, Labour Town Councillor for West Ward, described the meeting as a ‘reflective occasion’.

“It is sad to leave Royal Victoria Hall but you have to look forward.”

Although he warned: “A lot of the community don’t feel engaged with the development and there is a feeling that they are not buying into it.”

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