COUNCILLORS voted to pay for much needed repairs to Chepstow’s Drill Hall after a heated two hour meeting of the town council.

At one point the mayor of Chepstow put his head in his hands as he tried to spur on warring councillors to make a decision over the future of the entertainment venue.

Cllr Paul Rutter was summing up at an extraordinary meeting of the town council which heard the building may have to close if its roof is not repaired, prompting arguments over how much it would cost.

Members battled with the sums for nearly two hours over the essential repairs to the roof’s trusses, which are 277% overstressed and bearing a load three times greater than they should.

Extreme snow or windy weather could cause it to fail.

It was decided the town council would pay out £10,444, adding to a final offer of £60,000 from Monmouthshire council for the roof.

They also voted to shell out an extra £21,610 for roof insulation, reconfiguration of one roof truss for better film showings, repair and upgrade of two ceiling extractors, but not a newheating system.

However, the Drill Hall will have to pay at least half of that back out of its funds over the next four years.

Cllr Hilary Beach’s comments raised the eyebrows of Drill Hall supporters in the public gallery with some of her comments.

She said: “Some would say why don’t we scrap it and start again.

It’s only one of the assets available to the community,” before adding: “I can see Iambeing portrayed as a baddie.”

Cllr Gerry Rowe mentioned the council only had limited funds.

“It’s not as though we are awash with money here.”

But chairman of the hall committee Cllr Ned Heywood was supported by Cllr Roy Garner when he said there was no point doing the roof and ignoring the other problems the hall has.

“To do half a job now and increase your costs later, it’s bananas,” said Cllr Garner.

The work, due to start in the coming months, will close the hall for eight to ten weeks.