Council seeks new owners for entertainment venues in Worthing

Assembly Hall, Worthing
Assembly Hall, Worthing

The council is looking for new owners to take over two ‘much-loved’ performance spaces in Worthing and improve entertainment provision in the town.

Worthing Borough Council is advertising for interested parties to take ownership of the Assembly Hall and Richmond Room in Stoke Abbott Road.

Any possible transfer of the freehold would include a requirement for the venue’s use as a place of entertainment to continue, the council confirmed.

A spokesman for the Borough Council said: “We are exploring a number of options for the rationalisation and improvement of entertainment provision in the borough.

“Like all local authorities we have to keep exploring best value for council tax payers in what are tight fiscal times.

“This marketing exercise will help us understand if there is any interest in taking and improving the offer at these famous and much-loved venues.

“We remain committed to ensuring the future of the Assembly Hall and Richmond Room as entertainment venues.”

Any potential new owners would have to honour existing contractual arrangements for performances by the Sussex Theatre Organ Trust, the Worthing Symphony Orchestra and the Worthing Philharmonic Orchestra, the spokesman confirmed.

The Wurlitzer Organ, which rises from underneath the stage, would also stay.

The news comes after a former mayor of Worthing and ex-duty manager at the town’s theatres criticised this year’s winter theatre programme in Worthing as ‘exceptionally disappointing’.

Ann Barlow said: “To have such a high taxpayer subsidy and then produce a mediocre offer is such a shame.”

But a theatres spokesman said they were seeing ‘really positive box office activity with ever growing audiences’.

The Assembly Hall has a standing capacity of 1,200 people and the Richmond Room 180.

Expressions of interest for the Grade 2 listed venues are to be submitted by noon on Friday, January 19, 2018.