I WOULD like to comment on two of last week’s stories: the Myplace application for St Mary in the Castle being reviewed, and the results of the Big Conversation.
This document had an inaccurate item on the building’s operation calling it a subsidised “cafe and entertainments venue” - highly misleading to those who know that we are running an arts centre here, and receive no subsidy.
The money being spent by Hastings Borough Council on repairs, maintenance and insurance is substantially less than these items would cost if the building were once again to be left empty.
If it were not for the stop/start nature of our tenancy here, the result of the unresolved “myplace” application, the council could by now be receiving an increasing level of rent as well as rates. Stagnation costs money!
It also blights the most important listed building in Hastings, which should be a visitor attraction in its own right - as well as the arts, community and civic centre which it already is. Observer pages are showing the range and frequency of events now being held here.
It now appears that the Government wants to use the Myplace programme as a means of imposing its own agenda, including privatising youth services and promoting free schools. The political slant will make it difficult for a Labour council to support this, and they and the county council will have no free money in any case to subsidise the project.
Lift this blight, Hastings Borough Council. Allow St Mary-in-the-Castle to flourish as a centre for all ages, without subsidy – but with full involvement in the proposed cultural regeneration strategy for the town.