Maidstone Borough Council’s (MBC), Policy and Resources Committee agreed to defer the decision to end the Council’s contract with Parkwood Theatres in order for a further report to be considered that would provide ‘more clarity’ around the future of the Hazlitt Theatre.
The original decision was made unanimously at the Economic, Regeneration and Leisure Committee meeting on 12 November but had been ‘called in’ under the Decision Referral Process to be reviewed by the Council’s Policy and Resources Committee which met last night. During the meeting, the Committee heard from several members of the public who voiced their concerns regarding the future of the theatre, and then agreed the following motion:
The four resolutions of the ERL Committee on 12 November concerning the Hazlitt Theatre, be substituted with a resolution: that the matter be deferred until the ERL Committee meets on 19 January 2021. So as to allow greater clarity on issues such as external funding and Covid related developments and to facilitate further member and stakeholder engagement in determining the best method of retaining the Hazlitt for years to come.
Maidstone Borough Council has always said that it recognises the importance of having a theatre in the County Town and understands the contribution the Hazlitt makes to Maidstone’s economy and the quality of life and wellbeing of local residents. The Council provides a subsidy on an on-going basis and has provided additional financial support during the period April to September. The Council understands the important role the Hazlitt plays in providing a venue for local community groups to use, and will continue to look at all opportunities for the theatre to do that again when it is safe and viable for the venue to reopen.
A paper regarding the future of the Hazlitt Theatre will now be presented at the MBC Economic, Regeneration and Leisure Committee meeting on Tuesday 19 January 2021 at 6.30pm.
Image Credit: By Chris, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6056723