Joint will be jumping when music gets a lift

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THE popular cellar bar at the Old Town Hall in Hemel Hempstead is to make a comeback following a decade-long absence.

The venue hosted big names from the world of entertainment as well as the highly-respected Blue Note Jazz Club, but it was shut down in 2002 because of disability rules.

Now council bosses have agreed to spend £100,000 revamping the interior of the Old Town Hall and installing a lift enabling wheelchair users to get to the cellar.

This paves the way for the return of comedy, jazz, rock and indie music nights next year.

Sara Railson, general manager at The Old Town Hall, said: “In the past the cellar club has played host to what we now regard as some of the big names of British comedy, including Jo Brand, Eddie Izzard and Alan Davies. Perhaps in 2013 we’ll see the emergence of some comedy stars of the future.”

The decision to spend the cash was taken at a meeting of Dacorum Borough Council’s cabinet last Tuesday.

The work includes increasing the size of the gallery bar, which gets so full at intervals theatre-goers instead go to nearby pubs. Critics have said the venue’s seats also need improving.

Plans to create a cafe in the colonnades have been put on the backburner until economic conditions improve.

Councillor Neil Harden, cabinet member for residents and regulatory services, said: “This demonstrates our ongoing commitment to culture, in particular the arts. Our investment in the Old Town Hall will bring back the popular cellar club as a venue which everyone can access and enjoy.”

The cellar is still used for private functions but public events halted because of the Disability Discrimination Act 2004.