Letter: Investment in Arts Centre is smart

Pocklington Arts Centre
Pocklington Arts Centre

Oak House was bought by Pocklington Town Council in 1998 for £250,000 and refurbished at a further cost of £340,000.

A Public Works Loan Board mortgage was taken out for £590,000 to be repaid over 25years. Less than £200,000 is now outstanding.

With the money initially available it was not possible to restore the front rooms on the first floor which have remained unused since that time. The flat roof between the original Oak House and the auditorium has always been problematic and would have needed replacement before much longer.

We have been working for several years on drawing up plans to roof over this area (this alone would have cost £100,000), allowing us to bring the redundant rooms back into community use.

We successfully applied to the Arts Council for a grant to help us with the cost and were awarded £354,000. Because of the size of the project the work was put out to tender with Hobson and Porter, a well respected local building company, being awarded the contract.

The work has now started and will be complete by the end of March 2016.

While the cost of the project has increased, we will take a substantial sum from reserves that we have built up over recent years with this in mind. The remaining shortfall of monies will come from a further PWLB mortgage for £120,000, which has been issued at a most preferential rate. This will be repaid over 15 years at an annual cost of £9,700.

This authority prides itself on being prudent and spending your money wisely. We are confident this should not adversely impact on the precept as we have just finished paying off a loan for the Old Courthouse for £10,000.

In time we are confident the new area will provide extra income for the arts centre which will help keep the precept down and it certainly will enhance the facilities available.

Plans are being considered to hold a series of events to launch the new facility to which we invite everyone to come along to form your own opinion. We think it is a major step forward for the town and hope you will be similarly impressed when it is completed.

Richard Wood

Town clerk,

Pocklington Town Council