St Mary-in-the-Castle to be an arts centre

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THREE operators have been shortlisted to run St Mary-in-the-Castle as an arts centre.

The Grade Two listed building at Pelham Place has been attracting interest from a variety of parties.

Council leader Jeremy Birch announced at a full council meeting that the list of potential operators had been whittled down to three.

They are all for an arts and cultural centre. Cllr Birch told the meeting: “The promoters of these three bids will be invited in for interview where they can outline in detail their operational and financial plans for the building.”

Speaking after the meeting Cllr Birch said: “What will interest me will be the quality and variety of the cultural offer they are proposing although obviously the financial offer has to be important to us too.”

The council purchased the building as part of its rescue and restoration in the 1990s.

Current tenant Barbara Rogers will leave in August after three years there.

Earlier this month a petition was handed to the council signed by more that 300 people who wanted the venue to be kept as an arts centre.