Letter: Arts Centre improvements are a worthwhile investment

In response to Comment (Pock Post, November 19), I think the improvements to Pocklington Arts Centre are a worthwhile investment in the future, not only of the Arts Centre, but also the wider Pocklington community and appeal of our ever growing town.

The building is an important part of the attractive character of the Market Place. It provides a rich programme of films, streamed National Theatre productions, internationally acclaimed acts and some emerging top performers, as well as exhibiting an interesting mix of graphic and sculptural arts.

More importantly, it provides an environment for nurturing the arts in the Pocklington community. It already provides a base for a choir (Forgotten Voices), a drama group for adults with learning and other disabilities (Wolds Wonders) and various ad hoc events.

With the improved facilities it will be able to do more to develop the local arts scene, including a range of productions and activities that attract smaller, more diverse audiences.

Not many small towns have such an internationally acclaimed arts venue, it is an asset to the town and we should be proud of it. However, without investment it runs the risk of gradual decline.

During my lifetime I have seen many similar venues close and fall into dereliction, or at best become carpet warehouses, offices or flats; let’s not let that happen here. Yes, York is only 12 miles away with a range of excellent arts facilities, but these cannot provide the accessibility and community base provided by our Arts Centre.

Furthermore, with the extensive new housing developments there is already a risk that Pocklington becomes a soulless dormitory town for York.

£545,000 is a lot of money, but £354,000 is Arts Council funding that would be spent on similar projects elsewhere, if not here.

The town council funds being used will be well below £200,000 and this is a long term capital investment that should safeguard the future of this important asset that belongs to the town, not some global entertainments empire, and enable it to continue to operate on a self funding basis.

Ged Leach

St Helens Road, Pocklington