Capitol Saturday workshop petition to receive council consideration

JPCT-18-02-12  The Capitol Horsham, members and supporters of the axed drama club protest after the final Saturday meeting. S12081280a -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT-18-02-12 The Capitol Horsham, members and supporters of the axed drama club protest after the final Saturday meeting. S12081280a -photo by Steve Cobb

HORSHAM District Councillors will consider a petition received about the closure of Saturday morning drama drop-in workshops at The Capitol in Horsham on Wednesday April 25.

The meeting will be help at North Street’s Park North at 6pm as any petition with more than 1,000 signatures can trigger a council debate.

The petition organiser will present the petition, to which there will be a response from the Council’s cabinet member, followed by a full debate by the Council.

Councillors will then be asked to vote to agree what happens next.

Jonathan Chowen (Con, Cowfold, Shermanbury and West Grinstead), cabinet member for arts, heritage and leisure, said: “Since this was a drop in facility numbers attending varied between 25 and a maximum of 40 children each week and this compromised the use of The Capitol and the ability to provide it for any other purpose up until 1pm each Saturday.

“On a number of occasions other bookings had to be declined.

“Despite efforts to actively encourage more attendances, over a six month period the sessions made a loss of £3,296 and last autumn the manager at The Capitol met Miss Martin, who ran the sessions, to explain the situation and there was a mutual agreement made to cease them from early 2012. As a consequence, Miss Martin received a redundancy payment from the Council.

“In these difficult economic times, the Council has to look carefully and rigorously at how it spends money given the reduction in users and these workshops were losing money.

“It was also a discretionary service that a council does not have to provide.

“The new Saturday morning cinema sessions have proved popular with an average of 70 children attending each week and the Council is looking to encourage other uses of The Capitol.

“The Council has identified eight further providers of drama tuition in Horsham town and the details have been shared with those who attended the drop in workshops.”

Further information about Horsham District Council’s petitions procedure, including conditions, can be found online at http://www.horsham.gov.uk/council/13062.aspx or by calling 01403 215465.