Please don't build a cinema! An epicentre should be open all day to every club in town.

Please don't build a cinema! An epicentre should be open all day to every club in town.

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Gailie Pollock started this petition to East Herts Council and

Please don't turn the proposed Old River Lane Theatre in to a cinema. Please put the project on hold until the economy has recovered and EHC can afford the theatre.

Four years ago the people of Bishop’s Stortford were promised a world class community arts facility, including a large new theatre, as part of the ORL development.  Many of us were excited about the possibility but the world, as we know, has changed in the last year.   The kneejerk response of EHDC has been to hastily reconsider ORL without public consultation.  They are now forcing an ill thought out and watered down alternative on us - one that will be confirmed in March and we will be committed to for generations.  It includes a five screen cinema (which we already have) and a much reduced community arts facility – namely a studio space which can incorporate only 80 people standing. It will also necessitate the demolition of exiting arts facilities like the URC hall.

 A host of community arts groups were hoping to find a home in this new arts centre, a home that many of them have tried and failed to find at South Mill Arts.  Professional theatre and comedy, orchestras and bands, fine arts and photography – all wanted to be part of it.  But what is now being offered is unsuitable for everyone.  If we can’t have the arts centre we wanted, don’t give us something we can’t use.  The performance space being offered is not financially viable for anyone and will inevitably fall into disuse and result in companies seeking alternative spaces outside Bishop’s Stortford, which would be a tragedy we will live to regret.

'But BS already has a theatre' – South Mill Arts plans to continue to host amateur companies, tribute bands and dance classes, but most touring theatre companies can't use SMA. No access yard for scenery trucks; no dock to offload equipment on to the stage; no fly tower for scenery; no wing space for props; no stage door; very little parking; and only 2 dressing rooms with no doors separating artists from the toilet facilities. This lack of facilities makes it an undesirable venue for the majority of touring companies and local companies. A-list comedians won't use the theatre due to its limited seating and orchestras can’t use it due to its poor acoustics and small stage. The plot of land SMA sits on is not big enough to expand or develop the venue and the location makes it less prone to walk-ins during the day and evening.

 Let’s not rush this decision.  Let’s not rubber-stamp a hastily contrived plan B just for the sake of it.  Let’s put the decision on hold until the crisis is over and the economy is recovering.  Then we can find a way of creating an arts facility we all deserve and can all be proud of.

0 have signed. Let’s get to 2,500!
At 2,500 signatures, this petition is more likely to get picked up by local news!