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Hudderfield Town Hall concert hall closure: Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra voices frustration over five-month shutdown

Kirklees Council says it must shut for health and safety reasons during roof repairs - 30 bookings had already been taken for the 20-week closure period

Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra at Huddersfield Town Hall

Concert organisers have spoken out about the problems they face after it was revealed Huddersfield Town Hall’s concert hall will shut for five months.

Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra, Huddersfield Choral Society and Huddersfield Philharmonic Orchestra have all been affected by Kirklees Council’s decision to shut the hall from March to August next year to carry out vital work to the roof.

Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra secretary Chris Woodhead said the group had already spent several hundred pounds on advertising for two events that were due to be stage, while Jeremy Garside, general secretary of Huddersfield Choral Society said that it will have to look outside Huddersfield to find a another venue to host a concert with the BBC Philharmonic due to go ahead on April 8, 2016.

They are two of the groups that had hired out the hall, the largest in Kirklees with a 1,200 capacity, and are now in talks with the council about securing alternative venues.

Mr Woodhead said: “We’d booked to stage a rendition of Verdi’s Requiem with a 160-strong choir and a large orchestra in April and a symphony concert in June.

“All the artists have already been hired because you have to plan events like this much in advance and we’ve spent hundreds of pounds on publicity such as tickets and flyers.

“We were only told a couple of days ago and it’s a shame they couldn’t have involved us in the discussion or started the planning process earlier.

“Kirklees Council said they will help us with the costs but I’m worried that someone will see the old flyer and not realise the venue has changed.

“It is a fantastic resource and I’m obviously not against the work being done but it could have been better planned.

“We hope to discuss it with the council so we can get a plan together but there aren’t many other options within Kirklees available to us.”

A total of 30 events have already been booked for the period and half of these council functions.

Mr Garside said: “We were going to put on a subscription concert for our members and the council is now working with us to find an alternative venue.

“We will have to look outside Huddersfield.

Huddersfield Town Hall

“It’s not the first time we’ve had to move our event due to repairs and we have to accept it will happen from time to time.

“It’s obviously something we’d rather not do but understand Kirklees Council’s position.”

Ruth Holmes, president of Huddersfield Philharmonic, said: “We also didn’t know until Thursday and it’s left us surprised and in some immediate difficulty. It now means extra work for us to repromote the event but whenever they announced the work we would have been affected as we book five years in advance.”

Commenting on why the whole hall had to be shut, a spokesman from the council said: “It’s to do with scaffolding and health and safety issues and it would cost a lot more to do the work around the concerts.

“Due to the scaffolding there would be the potential of health and safety hazards as if there was a fire there could be less access to get out.”

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