After an outpouring of anger and dismay from local residents, along with the Playhouse User Group and our local MP, Dominic Raab, we have forced the Liberal Democrats that run our Council to abandoned its plans to close the precious Cecil Hepworth Playhouse in Walton. A victory for common sense and our local heritage - the Playhouse is due to celebrate it's 100th anniversary soon.
The council have released a statement apologising and inviting playhouse users to submit a proposal to take a self-managed lease from April 2023. Importantly, the statement said:
“We understand [the playhouse] is much loved by its users […] it is clear there is strong local feeling about the facility, as well as maintaining the provision of local arts.”
This is a marked contrast from the council’s previous position that the playhouse would be closed entirely, and shows how important local community campaigning is.
There’s still work to do, but this is a very welcome step forward in the campaign to save this vital community asset.