Campaigners present plan to save King’s Lynn Arts Centre

Campaigners battling to save King's Lynn Arts Centre have todaypresented their plan to keep the popular venue open.

The medieval complex is facing closure as a cost-cutting measure by West Norfolk Council which needs to make 25pc spending cuts over the lifetime of the current government.

The Friends of King's Lynn Arts Centre, formed to oppose the loss of the venue, were given access to the books of the council to help them come up with a sustainable plan to keep it open for future generations.

Their initiative includes the creation of a not-for-profit trust to help fund the project and their proposals were presented late yesterday afternoon.

Council leader Nick Daubney said earlier that the authority was 'open to imaginative and innovative ideas' which would preserve the long-term future of the Arts Centre, in King Street.

The council had approved plans to lease out the King Street complex and move the art galleries into the Town Hall but the idea has been on hold while the Friends have been putting their plan together.

Norfolk County Council would also use the Town Hall for the register office and Hanse House, where it is currently based, would be sold.

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The historic Arts Centre complex escaped the bulldozers in 1945 when it was saved at the eleventh hour by a band of wealthy philabthropists and the current doubts over its future have inflamed passion from supporters.

Mary Roche, the daughter of Lord Fermoy, whose memory is dedicated in one of the galleries, said the proposal to close the centre felt like 'sacrilege' when she wrote to councillors.

The council proposed moving exhibitions at the Arts Centre to the Town Hall which would need upgrades costing more than �200,000.

Speaking before yesterday's meeting, Greg Lattimore, chairman of the Friends, said the group had been pleased with the discussions which had taken place.

'We are confident that we can create a plan that will allow us to keep the Arts Centre where it is and at the same time allow the Town Hall to be better utilised.'