Due to Lynn News reports since January about closing down facilities at the art centre, I sought a meeting with a very senior councillor in February to discuss and find out more.
I learned that the council is also anxious about the situation, but did not offer any detail. Your reports state that Cllr Nockolds suggested in committee that a flat floor for the Art Centre auditorium would enable weddings and I believe that some councillors feel that hiring out that flat floor venue will ‘make the council some money’. Those notions are seemingly naïve in my view and also do not represent views or needs in our community. We have a magnificent building complex for artistic opportunity, it just needs the experience of a skilled champion to make it all work and to market it in a better way. A flat floor for an established auditorium might even kill that opportunity.
Fundamentally, the borough is on the brink of major expansion from population and business growth. There will be more people from that growth aspiring to reach professional levels in art and those wishing just to enjoy performance and a variety of artistic pursuits when on offer to people in the existing and expanded community.
The large sums of money to be spent suggest that the council is seriously trying.
However, we as a community cannot expect the council elected members or officers to suddenly become experts in what is required but they should be able to realise that a flat floor venue for the auditorium would not grasp the root of the problems at the art centre and might well destroy its potential. Better to leave the auditorium alone but use the money perhaps in regenerating the White Barn for more activities, leaving vacated spaces to enhance the well being of the complex (the only space fit for purpose in the vicinity) so valuable for the culmination of artistic endeavour with the auditorium just as it is and as intended except, perhaps, for some cosmetic enhancement and a lift.
It would be good to see co-ordination of these desires through a consultation process seeking a new means to ignite and promote Arts Awareness, performance/participation and perhaps some profitability – a new name, perhaps? “Arts & Crafts Aspiration Centre”? (ACAC), Re-Start Finance to seek and support the appointment of a champion with the skill and charisma to lead in tune with the council’s Corn Exchange Concert Hall (not expected to be a theatre!) with a flat floor facility as well as the Town Hall for making money without degrading potential success of our arts complex.
Bridge Street, Lynn