SMIC closure is a disgraceful tragedy

NEXT Friday St Mary-in-the-Castle (SMIC) will close.

Well, Cllr Jeremy Birch says it is not closing as he is allowing a few autumn bookings, already in hand, to go ahead and possibly one or two formerly regular events can take place.

But no new bookings can be made and the cafe and art gallery will be closed. Open and shut. Shut and open. Take your pick.

Continuity is vital in a venue such as SMIC. When it became obvious, months ago, that there was likely to be a significant gap between the departure of Barbara Rogers (the current excellent operator) and any new body taking over, something should have been done. It was not. Why?

The council has done nothing over the last three or so years to help Barbara market the venue it owns. So, on her own, she was building up a healthy revenue stream.

She was not quite at the stage of showing a yearly surplus but, had she had a grant half that given to another venue, the picture would be looking really quite rosy. It is a tragedy that all this has been thrown casually and disgracefully away. Why?

SMIC needs to be opened regularly or it will deteriorate. Even now, if it has been closed for any length of time, there is a bad smell of damp and the place gets bitterly cold.

Hastings is once again in danger of losing a unique, much-loved venue for fine performances. Why?

MICHAEL PLUMBE

Holmesdale Gardens