January 30, 2015
Last Thursday, Bob Blackman MP and I invited Arts Minister, Ed Vaizey MP to come and see the energy that surrounds Harrow Arts Centre, and why we must do everything we can to stop the Council from closing it. HAC’s business manager Sandra took us all on a tour of the buildings, showing Ed the art studios, dance rooms, theatres and everything else it has to offer. Our local Councillors Susan Hall, Jean Lammiman and John Hinkley were on hand to talk about its importance in the community, along with Hatch End’s residence association co-chairs Anne Swinson and Julian Maw. It really was a team effort from everyone.
As you may know, Harrow Council ran a consultation of options to save money in the borough, and closing Harrow Arts Centre was on this list. Because of the hard work from the community, the Council have given a stay of execution. We have a year to put together a plan for the site which will reduce the expenditure of the Council and ensure the long term survival of this much loved community asset. A very good team are on the case and have my full support.
After the tour, lots of people from Harrow and the surrounding areas who use the sight frequently came and met Ed, and expressed to him the importance of the sight. Cheryl Gould who runs many art classes in the purpose built art studios talked to Ed about how well-used the facilities are, and spoke about the history and architecture of the building.
Ed said: “I am delighted to have visited the Arts Centre with Bob Blackman and Nick Hurd today. It’s obviously a thriving centre for the community and I hope the council will continue to work with the community who have amazing plans to develop the centre and breathe life back into it. It would leave a big hole in the heart of the community if it went.”
I would like to say a special thank you to Clare Goldschmidt who helped to raise over 12,000 signatures on the petition to save Harrow Arts Centre, which really made Harrow Council think twice about closing it.
If you would like more information on Harrow Council’s budget cuts, please visit my website www.nickhurd.com