On hearing about the closure of art centre facilities again, I made a study of the issues at the centre from many years of past use and experience there.
I hoped to help if I could by discussing thoughts with the leader of the council in January and in assisting the user group towards its present force in discussions. The initiative of the borough council and users so far is most welcome, but your report on Friday, October 21, has urged me to suggest that comments reported by Councillors Rochford, Collingham and Bambridge, express the crux of the need for understanding the buildings and issues at the centre as a whole. It is very important for the survival of the centre to assess an overall vision for its requirements. A charismatic champion, knowledgeable in such matters, with determination to succeed, is probably required for the borough council and users to rely upon to explore a viable business plan with a vision for the potential users, find and lead them from initiative and have the ability to seek financial contributions and means in the business community to make the centre an independent attraction for users and for the public.
The notion reported for residential use for the White Barn would seem to be adverse bearing in mind current limitations for access, security, the need for access for residents and the potential oneness of the spaces for the centre use as a whole as it increases under the direction of the champion and his team. The paved yard and White Barn are seemingly the only spaces left to diversify, perhaps not immediately but in the future. In the meantime, the White Barn is not serving the art centre in storing goods when it might be used for physical and group uses and harnessed profitably by the champion, if made usable.
Without demonstrating a vision for arts and crafts to aspire at the centre as a whole in an overall plan, there could well be doubt about speculative partial proposals if they do not also take into account additional arts and craft needs arising from the huge land allocations for houses and industrial development anticipated, the exciting opportunities or the wider, yet-to-come interests from a regenerated River Great Ouse, as part of the long-term plan – perhaps with a pier-like promenade parallel to the river bank, which could be an attractive asset for the complex and the town, with respect for flood protection.
It could give pedestrian access to the group of venues nearby in the Ouse Sailing Club, the Riverside Restaurant, the Globe Hotel, the Crown and Mitre plus Common Staithe and the Corn Exchange, Tuesday Market Place, St Nicholas Chapel, the Town Hall and True’s Yard museum, all contributing to a town of worldwide attraction yet viable for beginners in crafts, arts and amateurs otherwise lost.
Desmond K Waite, King’s Lynn