Agenda item


A report by the Assistant Director – Leisure and Culture


The Portfolio Holder presented the report supported by the Assistant Director of Leisure and Culture and the Interim Cultural Services Manager.  

Committee were advised that the Guildhall was owned and maintained by Boston Borough Council and was a building of International, National and local significance. The building itself dated back to the 1390’s and was  testament to the wealth and influence of the Guild of St. Mary at a time when Boston’s power as a centre of trade was second only to London.  The Guildhall was an important Council asset which was managed within the Leisure and Culture Division of the Communities Directorate and the proposed action plan for the Guildhall had been developed, to provide support for both an economic and efficient structure, together with an  effective service delivery moving forward. [BR1] The Interim Cultural Services Manager further explained Boston’s Cultural Quarter [SM2] Group consisted of the Guildhall, Fydell House, Blackfriars Theatre and St. Botolph’s Church all whom met monthly to talk about shared events and activities and, that the lack of this detail within the report had already been highlighted and would be included moving forward.


Member comment followed which is collated and included:

Concerns were noted by a member at the omission of a number of issues within the reporting including no reference to the important role the Guildhall played in pride of place and wellbeing. There was no clear plan on increasing the day to day footfall of the site and a lack of intent to rotate / introduce new exhibits into the venue, all of which the member requested be included within the final report. The member further questioned why recruitment of volunteers was not a priority to enable longer opening hours for the venue.

Responding to the comments, the Interim Cultural Services Manager advised that once the venue was fully staffed a development plan would be taken forward to include exhibits and exhibitions. Volunteers were not currently being recruited due a number of factors including the current capacity issues of existing staff and the significant training required for volunteers against the lack of budget.  The Assistant Director for Leisure and Culture advised that the budget in question was a Museum, Arts and Culture budget, which went beyond the museum and Guildhall itself.

On requesting the annual cost for the Guildhall the Assistant Director for Leisure and Culture advised that including the Notional costs, the cost was £342,904.00 with £66,261.00 being Amortisation of Intangible Assets[BR3]  and £47,329.00 being depreciation of assets, which would be adjusted at the end of the year and would reduce.

Further concerns noted a lack of publicity for the venues opening times, the reduced and sometimes random opening hours and also the need to close the whole building for wedding events.  The Portfolio Holder confirmed that a trifold leaflet was being designed which would house a QR code for easy access. The leaflets would be available in locations including at the train station, the Guildhall, St. Botolph’s Church and cafes.  The Council website also had a direct link to visitor attractions.

The Guildhall was closed for wedding events due to a number of factors which included the need for the venue to only be used for the purpose of the private hire; the need for a separate room for pre-wedding interviews by the registrar and due to its specific nature and layout with the fire escape routes as designated by the fire service, the venue could not be made available to the public during a private hire function.

Concern was also noted at the lack of reference to the part the Guildhall played in the £1milion visitor economy and a member stressed he felt that the staff at the Guildhall needed to be more proactive in expanding the visitor economy. The Interim Cultural Services Manager advised that the staff already worked very hard within the constraints they had, and in a recent report by Historic England the Guildhall received an 80% rating and the staff received a 95% rating for their hard work within the resources they had. 

Referencing the significant connections of the Guildhall, along with those of St.Botolphs and Fydell House in relation to ‘Western Thought’, a member requested a clearer narrative be provided within the plan for Boston’s rich heritage, to support and encourage the interest of those who valued such historic venues and thereby aid increased footfall and the visitor economy. 

A further suggestion noted that Boston Massachusetts had a Freedom Trail which connected 16 nationally significant historic sites across a 2.5 mile trail, which could prove to be something to look at for Boston and a way to involve all organisations in the Cultural Quarter and potentially be a project for the College.

A request was made for the average visitor numbers  for the Guildhall on a Saturday with the information to be tabled following the meeting.



That the Environment and Performance Committee considered and commented on the proposed Action Plan and supported its development to aid the future economic, efficient and effective delivery of the action plan for the venue.

[BR4] Need to add the officer title here please

[BR4] Need to add the officer title please

[BR4] Full title please

[BR4] 18:03 of recording, I can’t make out the word?


 [BR1]You will need to re-word this section - not sure it quite makes sense

 [SM2]I’m not sure this is the correct word

 [BR3]Need to check with Karen/Phil please

 [BR4]Karen - please can you provide feedback on the recommendations

Supporting documents: