CAMPAIGNERS have lamented another ‘wasted’ Christmas for the Abbey Hall, as the Abingdon town centre venue remains closed for a third festive season.

The building, which is the 1960s extension to the town's historic Guildhall, has lain empty since 2015.

Previous plans to install a cafe and projector room inside failed in January after being deemed unaffordable, and the council's most recently published plans for the site do not involve Abbey Hall at all.

Increasingly concerned residents created the the Save our Guildhall petition in September, which now has more than 1,600 signatures, with campaigners objecting to the removal of a staircase, which dates back to 1731, from the older part of the building as well as raising concerns about the future of the Abbey Hall.

Iain Littlejohn, who created the online version of the petition, said: "It's a disservice to the community that the only large town centre venue with close parking in Abingdon is closed.

"It was popular with lots of groups and the Christmas season was its' busiest time, with meals and concerts taking place inside."

"As far as I can see, the council has no plans for what to do with the space so I don't understand why they can't keep the building open while they are deciding. "It's terrible that Abingdon's civic functions are having to be held outside of the town."

Susan Williams, chairman of The Art Society Abingdon said the group had used the venue as a meeting place for almost 20 years before it was forced to find an alternative venue.

She said: "It was tedious but we did eventually find a new space at Trinity Church on Conduit Road.

"It wasn't purpose built like the Abbey Hall so it isn't ideal."

"It is just an absolute waste that the Abbey Hall is sitting there empty, a crying shame.

"It is in a perfect location and should be acting as a hub and focal point for the town but instead it is an eyesore with graffiti and old notices covering it."

Plans for a £1 million refurbishment of the adjoining Guildhall were approved in June.

But following strong public opposition the town council revealed in October further plans to take out an 18th century staircase so a platform lift could be installed to allow access to the Bear Room, council chamber and Abbey Room, would not move forward until the authority has obtained an independent report.

Dennis Garrett, chairman of Abingdon Town Council's Guildhall committee, said: "As far as I'm aware we haven't had anyone making inquiries about using the Abbey Hall over Christmas.

"Talks are still ongoing between the town council, Oxfordshire County Council and Vale of White Horse District Council about plans for the building moving forward.

"In the meantime, work will start on the Guildhall on January 8 and we are pleased to be able to say all of the historic rooms, which have also been closed for the past two years will reopen to the public on July 1."

The petition is available online at