Thameside Theatre closure decision to be delayed

  Posted: 24.11.21 at 19:51 by The Editor

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THAMESIDE Theatre campaigners have been heartened this evening (Wednesday, 24 November) by news reported to Thurrock Council's full meeting that a decision on the future of the theatre will be delayed, but concern remains.

The council's cabinet was due to make a decision at its meeting on Wednesday, 8 December.

That is just a number of days after only the second scheduled meeting of councillors and officers of the council with campaigners and theatre groups and Cllr Lynn Worrall told tonight's meeting that there was not sufficient time for that meeting to be relayed back to the cabinet to help them make an informed decision.

In response communities portfolio holder Cllr Deb Huelin told the meeting that it has been agreed to take the agenda item off December's cabinet meeting agenda.

It was anticipated the cabinet would back a recommendation to close the Thameside Complex in March next year.

She told members a decision would now not happen until there had been consideration of all matters including the outcome of the scheduled consultation meeting.

'Save the Thameside' campaigner Samantha Byrne was in the public gallery when the announcement was made and she received the news with some scepticism and told Nub News: "I'm shocked at both Cllr Huelin's and Cllr Mark Coxshall's statements tonight that 'every letter received regarding the Thameside has received a reply.

"I'm still waiting for a reply to my letters from July and August, the only reply I have received from Cllr Huelin is to say she will get back to me. Does that count as a reply?

"I remain very disappointed at their attitude to the residents of Thurrock, typified by their action to sneak in through a back door this evening and avoid facing them.

"However, I am delighted to hear they have delayed a decision and will listen to what people have to say, but I have to ask, 'do they really mean it?'

Later in the meeting members voted to commemorate the golden jubilee of the Thameside in January and also look in detail at how theatre and arts services in the borough could be managed in the future.

After the meeting council leader Rob Gledhill said: "Thurrock Council Conservative Leader, Cllr Rob Gledhill said: “Tonight we voted on the services within the Thameside Theatre. The Cabinet has always believed in better services, fewer buildings.

"We have begun working with the services within the Thameside and continue to support them and already have successfully moved some to better locations.

"It will now be for the cabinet to make the final decision as to the future of the building.”

The motion passed by the council says: "Council notes the Thameside Complex was formally opened on 22nd of January 1972 with the first performance in the theatre taking place in October 1971. Council agrees: (1) that a celebratory event should be held, at the Thameside, in January 2022 to mark the Golden Anniversary of the complex and (2) to call on Cabinet to identify the resources necessary to improve and secure the future of the theatre service and all the services at the complex."

Campaigners have already pointed out the grammatical paradox created by the motion which appears to state services will be 'at the complex' rather than different venues.


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