FOLLOWING the comments in the Observer on the future of St Mary-in-the-Castle (SMIC), the most important thing is for SMIC to remain open as a much-loved and well used facility for the people of Hastings, St Leonards and the surrounding area.
It is true there is a board in the crypt at SMIC commemorating the restoration of the building as a centre for the arts and that Hastings Borough Council heads the list of worthy organisations which supported it.
However, there has never been any bar to the use of SMIC by educational and community organisations.
Nor have individuals and groups who want to celebrate special events in a venue with true ‘wow’ factor ever been excluded.
The challenge for the council now is to make a speedy decision to keep SMIC open as a venue for all suitable purposes – the performing arts, exhibitions, education, charities or as a hall for hire for special events.
Above all the council must end the uncertainty which has dogged SMIC for the last few years and made it impossible to plan events or build up business from year to year. There is already agreement that the future of SMIC should be as a venue for arts and community-based activities.
Let’s have a quick decision from the council to put that agreement into effect and give a sustainable future to this iconic and significant building.
St Mary-in-the-Castle Friends