Town Council saves Arts Centre

Bridgwater Town Council has stepped in to save the Bridgwater Arts Centre on Castle Street. The last paid staff had left in January and the building itself was struggling to fund urgently needed repairs.

Now the Town Council has voted a package of funding that could be worth up to £60,000 over the next 3 years. The Town Clerk, David Mears, organised a  ‘conditions survey’ back in December before the Arts Centre closed for refurbishment. This has now been received and part of the funding package agree by the Town Council is £13,200 of urgent spend needed to bring the Centre back into use.

There will be a more detailed article in the April edition of The Leveller.

Cllr Smedley, Leader of Bridgwater Town Council told us “Bridgwater Town Council has received the conditions survey and the new business plan agreed by the Art Centre board and is prepared to step in to preserve the countries first arts centre. The vote last night means that the art centre can now put out to tender for the emergency works that can bring the theatre back into use. We have allocated CIL money to this. That’s the money that we get from developers in the form of Community Infrastructure Levy and which we agreed to target at our key heritage projects. We also agreed to free up money that we had earmarked to the centre but which was awaiting the conditions survey and the business plan to justify the spend.

However, the next steps are crucial. To secure the arts centre long term we want to take it into town council ownership to give the hardworking volunteers, loyal members and old and new users the security that this important and iconic centre will need to continue for future generations. People have rallied round to save the place they love and we appreciate that devotion and hard work. The next step is to go forward together and get behind the project with the renewed confidence that I hope this decision will provide.”

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