Published: 00:01, 20 December 2016
Medway Council is considering selling or renting Rochester’s Corn Exchange.
The proposal for the listed building in the high street is due to be discussed at the cabinet meeting this afternoon.
Dating back to 1698, the Corn Exchange has two function rooms which are used for weddings, conferences, business events, and by the universities on graduation days.
The premises are shared with the Register Office.
The options for the building are for the council to retain it, sell it and leaseback the Register Office, or let the Corn Exchange and retain the Register Office.
Alan Moss, chairman of the City of Rochester Society, said: “My feeling is that we would be opposed to them selling it off completely. As to who’s actually running it, whether that is the council themselves or a tenant, is less important to us than the condition which it’s in.
"We wouldn’t want it to become something other than the Corn Exchange" - Alan Moss
"A lot of money needs to be spent on it and I understand that the council doesn’t have that money at the moment. Our main concern is that it’s maintained in a good condition and for the public’s use and not let out in a way that restricts the public use.
“It’s heavily used, it would be a shame if it disappeared into the private sector. We wouldn’t want it to become something other than the Corn Exchange.”
The budget for the building for 2016/2017 is £9,685 and the report said if returns are to improve then the council will need to invest in the facility.
Officers have recommended that letting the Corn Exchange to the private sector is the best way to secure its continued use without the council having to invest in it. Whoever takes on the premises will be required to maintain the building and honour any future bookings.