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Town Council Takes Over Arts Centre

By Jo Deeks on Friday, 2nd April 2004.

Haverhill Town Council has finally agreed to take over the trusteeship of the town's Arts Centre, despite efforts by members of the Haverhill Representative Alliance group to quash the move.

At a full council meeting on Tuesday night, 11 councillors voted in favour of the transfer from St Edmundsbury Borough Council, four voted against and one abstained.

But suggestions that some HRA councillors might step down over the issue failed to materialise, in spite of some calls of "resign" from the public gallery.

HRA councillors Mabon Dane, Chris Cullem and Mick Graham, who wrote to the town council saying they were not willing to become trustees, all stated they would continue as councillors.

"I have strong reservations, but at the end of the day I will go with the majority. We will have to make do with what we have got ourselves into" Councillor Dane said.

Earlier in the meeting, Alan Curson was applauded after calling for thanks for the council officers and Arts Centre staff for how well they had managed the centre during the past nine months of uncertainty.

"It has kept within its budget, increased the number of days it is open and had a 50 per cent increase, above the national average, of cinema seat occupancy," Mr Curson said.

Councillor Maggie Lee urged councillors to approve the transfer.

"We are making the right decision for the right reasons to take the Arts Centre and the town council forward. We have demonstrated that it works," Councillor Lee said.

Councillor Dane had raised a point of order over whether town councillors who are also borough councillors should be allowed to vote on the issue, suggestion they may have a pecuniary interest.

But town clerk Gordon Mussett said individual councillors were not trustees and had no pecuniary interest to prevent them voting.

Haverhill Weekly News

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