JUST when you thought the long-running saga of Witney’s public halls was close to a conclusion, with restoration of the Corn Exchange under way and a sale of the Langdale Hall on the cards, it takes another twist.

Witney Museum’s move to have the Langdale Hall registered as an asset of community value, which could create a six-month window for a fundraising drive to bid for the hall, raises the possibility that both buildings could remain in community use, rather than the Langdale Hall being demolished for redevelopment.

The timing of the move by the museum’s trustees may cause some consternation at the town council, coinciding with members’ decision to accept a bid for the Langdale Hall.

However, it seems reasonable to allow an opportunity for the possibility of a community-based bid for the Langdale Hall to be examined and potential sources of funding to be explored, especially when it offers the possibility of creating a better museum to tell Witney’s story.

The town council says that it already has funds in place for the first phase of work on the Corn Exchange, with the proceeds from a sale of the Langdale Hall designated for further developments in a second phase, so given the apparent high level of interest from bidders for what is a prime location in the heart of the town, a few months’ delay is unlikely to put them off should a bid for the building led by the museum trustees not come to fruition.