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Councillors want our votes: let’s tell them to

KEEP ST MARY’S OPEN FOR THE PEOPLE OF HASTINGS!

On Feb 15 we launched an SOS campaign to tell HBC to extend the lease on the building until the end of the year. Their response: they gave Barbara Rogers just one extra month on her lease.

HBC leaders, who have always seen this wonderful building as a lliability not an asset, are hoping to offload it to Hastings Trust’s Myplace project. But in the past two months no further progress has been made on the Myplace funding decision that was first promised for December.

Despite lobbying from arts groups wanting to book the building for Christmas concerts, the Council are still gambling on a home run for Myplace — which in order to get its grant needs to get Listed Building consent for their plans to make this unique historic building into a youth centre.

Barbara Rogers, who took the lease last year and has single handedly brought St Mary’s back to life after its near-death experience at the hands of Sonrise Church (another disastrous decision by this Council), writes: “How is St Mary in the Castle to be kept open while there is no resolution of the Myplace funding application, and no listed building consent for it?

“Hastings Council and the arts community need to start planning NOW if they are to take bookings beyond 8th September, when I hand the keys back and cancel my public liability insurance. If it’s closed, not only do major events like the opera, classical concerts, youth concerts and the carol service fail to happen, but the Council could be forced to hand back a substantial sum to English Heritage which is conditional on public access.”

St Mary in the Castle doesn’t seem to stand out in election promises. The Pier gets support, as does the Archery Ground campaign. But what about St Mary’s?

It’s not often Councillors want something FROM US. Let’s use this opportunity to press them to keep the lease going until the Myplace bid is resolved. Otherwise it will go into another limbo that could last for years.

Another avenue of pressure could be Hastings Trust. They are supposed to be dedicated to improving things for the town. They must know that if their Myplace bid fails, they would have to share the blame for St Mary’s closing down just when it had got its best management in decades.

So, please send letters and emails to Hastings Trust’s Director Mel Bonney-Kane asking her to urge the Council to KEEP ST MARY’S OPEN pending a decision on their Myplace bid. mel@hastingstrust.co.uk

If you’ve ever enjoyed a great night out, heard great music or seen a wonderful art show at St Mary in the castle, COME TO ITS AID NOW AND SEND THOSE EMAILS!

Posted 07:16 Monday, Apr 12, 2010 In: Home Ground

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