I'm delighted that the future of South Street has been secured. Full offical statement below:
From: "Reading Borough Council" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 23 Feb 2016 11:00
Subject: South Street to Remain Open
South Street to Remain Open
Reading Borough Council Press Release
SOUTH Street will remain open after Reading Borough Council confirmed today (Feb 23) it is accepting the Arts Council grant for the refurbishment of the popular arts centre.
The £500,000 Arts Council funding will allow a significant upgrade of South Street, which will resolve maintenance issues and enable it to better meet demand for hire and increased income. The planned improvements mean the Council will no longer need to subsidise South Street in future years.
The Arts Council announced Reading Borough Council had been successful in its bid on Thursday February 11th. The budget position faced by the Council however, meant it needed to consider the financial implications of the grant carefully, before deciding whether to accept it.
Severe and unprecedented Government cuts in funding, and increased demands on Council services, mean the Council needs to find another £51 million in savings over the next three years, and more than £18 million in 16/17 alone. £65 million worth of savings have already been made since 2011.
Councillor Paul Gittings, Reading Borough Council's Lead Member for Culture and Sport, said:
"The severe financial constraints the Council is facing due to unprecedented cuts in Government funding meant the decision to keep South Street open was never just about a successful Arts Council grant. The Council, quite rightly, had to satisfy itself that the grant would mean South Street could continue without subsidy, and preferably also making a contribution to revenue. We are now satisfied that is the case and I am delighted that South Street will remain open.
"South Street is clearly a popular and valued venue. We now want to build on its vibrant artistic, educational and community programmes, and the interest generated by the Year of Culture. I would hope that many of the 8,000 people who signed the petition will now continue to support South Street in the future, as well as our other arts and cultural venues in the town.
"The Council is very grateful to the Arts Council for its support on South Street. They have said they will make Reading a priority area for funding because of the already thriving cultural scene here, and they have been as good as their word."
Improvements supplemented by the Council's building maintenance budget will include the installation of energy efficiency measures, which will make the building cheaper to run. Other improvements include the installation of retractable seating, better and more efficient sound and lighting systems and the creation of a new separate bar area that will enable more intensive use of all the space in the building.
Notes for Editors:
Reading Borough Council Press Releases can be found online at http://www.reading.gov.uk/mediareleases/
Media Contact: Oscar Mortali
Tel: 0118 937 2301