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Stourport Civic is now 'becoming an industry'
WORK is continuing to ensure the Stourport Civic Centre, which has been brought back into community use, reaches its full potential as a multi-use hub for the town.
Stourport town councillors from across the political spectrum have voted to continue with the project to run the centre with Worcestershire County Council and the Civic Group after years of negotiating.
Chairman of the cross-party Stourport facilities working group, UK Independence Party councillor John Holden, said the Civic theatre hall had brought so many people to the town this summer that it "did not have enough accommodation" for visitors attending the events which have included the West Midlands Ballroom Dancing Championships.
He added opening the bar at the theatre hall had made the Civic Group £11,000 in profits in 12 weeks and said that figure could be £22,000 a year, which would be tax free as the group is a charity.
Mr Holden said: “If that is not going to help the Civic reach its potential I do not know what will. The Civic have turned this place into an industry.”
A town council budget report, written by treasurer Richard Mountford, pointed to two cost issues with the venture.
One involved a £12,290 annual loss to the town council which could see a council tax increase of £2 in 2014/15 for Stourport residents.
The other was an issue with car parking as car parks surrounding the civic centre site are all pay and display.
This meas companies taking on the business units would have to pay for parking on top of their rents, while users of the town library relocated at the centre, who are also used to free parking, would also have to pay.
Councillors praised the building and said despite the hurdles, the people of Stourport overwhelmingly wanted to see the facility retained for community use.
Independent Community and Health Concern (ICHC) councillor, John Thomas, said: “It is an exceptional building and it is something we should all treasure. We should treasure it now and in the future.”
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