Theatre should pay its own way

Hastings Observer letters
Hastings Observer letters

From: JR Rogers, Wellington Square, Hastings

You reported that Hastings Borough Council is to launch an “options appraisal” on the White Rock Theatre, but also that it wants to do this with HQ Theatres “actively engaged in discussions”.(Future of White Rock Theatre under review, 7 July).

So their minds are already closed on how to develop this key site opposite our wonderful new pier. No doubt they are planning to offer a continuing subsidy at our expense, whether there or with a new build nearby.

The present theatre is eating up one-sixth of the entire Hastings Borough Council budget in subsidies to HQ Theatres. Yet this council is cutting services and sacking staff.

The council also has a bad habit of ignoring what is already working well in the town and going for new “development” even if that damages existing businesses.

It really is time for them to develop an open mind and look at the best interests of all of us.

The White Rock site is owned by Hastings Borough Council and could easily be turned from a financial drain to a source of much-needed revenue.

Offer it on the open market as a mixed-use but mainly housing site. Make that conditional on a basement car and coach park for the pier, which has very little parking.

A theatre on every corner would be fine if they could pay their own way. If not then not. One thing Hastings is not short of is theatrical events.