A north-east council has dismissed fears it plans to close a town hall for six months next year, which had led to concerns that community events would have to be scrapped.
A number of organisations that use the Stonehaven facility were sent letters, including the organisers of the town’s folk festival, advising them of the potential closure.
Aberdeenshire Council intends to re-wire the building and refurbish the toilets and had initially proposed closing the hall between April and October next year.
And while the scheduled closure was several months away, many groups had already made bookings for events at the site.
A letter that was sent out by email on Monday stated: “As it stands, it has been agreed that an estimate for completing works will take around six months and that the most suitable time to carry out those works would be April – October 2019.
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“As no access other than contractors would be allowed between these times, you may need to make alternative arrangements during the closure.”
However, the authority has confirmed there was a misunderstanding and the hall will not be closed until 2020.
Charlie West, who organises the Stonehaven Folk Festival every July, was one of those taken aback at the “short notice” of the closure.
But once the groups got in touch with Councillor Wendy Agnew, the authority stressed it had no plans to cancel any bookings.
Mrs Agnew said “I think the council could have been a bit clearer, but it was always just a proposal and it was sorted out very quickly.
“I’m delighted the town hall is getting refurbished, it’s something that has been talked about for some time.”
Tom Buchan, facilities and property manager for the council, said: “The Stonehaven Town Hall project is still in planning stage, the renovations will be extensive and will be a significant enhancement to a prestigious facility. The hall is a listed building and the consent process has still to be completed to allow proper consideration of the proposals.
“The letter was sent to alert users of the possibility of closure for a period within that six-month window, but we will not be cancelling any confirmed bookings between April and November 2019.
“The works are most likely to take place in the first half of 2020, although some exploratory works may be required in 2019.”