LOCAL residents will be charged less to enter the Jerwood Gallery than visitors from outside the town under the gallery’s ‘Robin Hood approach’.
Admission for a local adult will be £2, a local child £1, and a family group of two adults and up to two children £4.50, when the gallery on The Stade opens to the public next Saturday (March 17).
This compares to general admission charges of £7 per adult and £3.50 per child.
In order to gain entry at the reduced rate, visitors will need to prove they live in the area covered by Hastings Borough Council, by presenting a utility or council tax bill for example.
In addition, entry will be free for local people on the first Tuesday of the month between 4pm and 8pm.
Jerwood director Liz Gilmore said: “It reflects the intention to have a subsidised rate for local people.”
She explained that this was part of the ‘Robin Hood approach’ of the gallery whereby the local community would reap benefits.
As far back as 2010, debate raged as to whether or not entry to the gallery should be free, as was originally the plan, although it was later found that an entry charge was necessary in order to claim back VAT on the building costs.
Old Town councillor Richard Stevens, put forward a motion to Hastings Borough Council in September 2010 to pressure Jerwood management into letting people in for free, but this was unanimously rejected.
He said: “One of the key selling points for Jerwood was that it would be free admission, and I have always maintained that they based their visitor numbers on the Fishermen’s Museum, and this of course has free admission.
“Although we are very pleased to see the overall development and investment in the area, I still think the admission charge will be a barrier to some visitors.”
Mrs Gilmore said: “We have a very different model of operating from many other galleries.
“We do not have any subsidies from Arts Council England, or the local authority.
“Without some kind of entrance fee, we would not be a legitimate business, albeit a non-profit-making business.”
Visit www.jerwoodgallery.org/news/2425 for full admission charges.