THE cost of doing the ‘minimum’ repairs to reopen Abingdon’s Abbey Hall would be £176,000, according to a report commissioned by the town council.

At a special meeting earlier this week councillors discussed a feasibility study carried out by Ridge Surveyors earlier this year as well as proposals by independent cinema The Regal to take on the building’s lease.

Sue Wiper, who runs the Evesham business with her husband Ian, wrote to the town council, which own the building, last month asking them to consider letting them use the Guildhall’s 1960s extension, the Abbey Hall, for screenings.

In considering this proposal, as well other options for how to reopen the building in the short-term, the cost of necessary repairs to make the Abbey Hall, which has been closed since 2015, safe was investigated.

Issues highlighted included problems with the building’s electricals as well as well as replastering damp damage and repairs to outside concrete walls.

A report by Abingdon Town Council clerk Nigel Warner commenting on the surveyors’ findings said: “In recent years, whilst the town council has maintained the building to a reasonable state, and certainly not allowed the essential services to get worse, there are many items which need replacement and repair.”

In the longer term the Abbey Hall is set to form part of a new ‘community hub’ in the town. Oxfordshire County Council, which runs the library, and Abingdon Town Council unveiled an agreement to work more closely to join up public services within the town earlier this year.

But the length of time the project could take, especially as no timescales have been revealed, has led residents to press the ‘urgent need’ to reopen the space with almost 200 people turning up for two public meetings last month. A Save our Guildhall petition created in September, has also been signed by more than 2,000 people.

Original proposals for the Abbey Hall extension of the Guildhall were rejected by the town council in January last year when it was decided the scheme was financially unviable.The £3.5m scheme was first proposed in 2013, with a 200-seat cinema set to form the anchor of a redevelopment of the hall, which would have also created a new cafe-bar and saw the building refurbished.

The town council will make the feasibility report, as well as a structural survey of the building, available to Mr and Mrs Wiper, with the intention of considering any formal offer by couple at a meeting next month.

The full report is online at