Council pledges £135,000 boost for South Hill ParkBy Julie Spencer
December 13, 2012
Bracknell's impoverished but acclaimed arts centre can count on support from Bracknell Town Council next year.
At a meeting on Tuesday night, councillors agreed to maintain its £135,000 grant to cash-strapped South Hill Park and also agreed to keep the rise in the town council tax precept to just three pence a week.
The arts centre was plunged into financial uncertainty last year when the Arts Council scrapped its regular funding.
Now the centre, which stages nationally-recognised exhibitions and performances, must seek alternative funding from arts foundations.
Cllr Chris Turrell, leader of the council, said: “It has been really good to work with South Hill Park this year.
“They have a really good panto on at the moment and we had the very successful fireworks display which was put on with a lot of hard work from them.
“The new programme shows they are putting more on that is of interest locally and I feel strongly that we continue our support.”
Earlier this month, the centre applied for an Arts Council grant to insulate the building, which bosses hope could save between £20,000 and £30,000 a year.
Ron McAllister, chief executive, said at the time that he wanted every penny spent on the arts and not wasted through draughty windows.
He said: “We are delighted that the town council will continue their support for South Hill Park.
“2013 will mark the 40th anniversary of the arts centre and we’re looking forward to continue working with the town council on providing high-quality and accessible events for the community.”
At the town council meeting, councillors also agreed to keep the rise in the town council tax precept to around three pence a week.
The charge pays for council facilities including play areas and parks and should be set at £75.68 for a Band D property, up £1.49 on the year.
New Government legislation means the tax rise will not be confirmed until February when it will be added to precepts charged by the borough and by the police authority to give a total for council tax bills for 2012/13.
Cllr Turrell, added: “We are approaching this change cautiously, to make sure we get things right.
“But our overall aim is to ensure we continue to provide residents with good quality, good value facilities.”