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HAZLITT VICTORY: Councillors overturn plan to shut theatre - for now

Wednesday 25th November 2020

THE uncertain future of the Hazlitt Theatre has been given a reprieve after Maidstone Borough Council's plan to shut it and sack the operator was overturned.

Councillors reversed the MBC proposal to mothball the venue and terminate Parkwood Theatres' contrct

A motion asking for a deferment won by eight votes to seven.

MBC wants to shut the venue to save a subsidy of £243,000 but pay £100,000 pa to keep it shut.

Many councillors felt there were unanswered questions regarding the contract and the council's plans to reopen the Hazlitt and sought clarity.

The deferment is only a reprieve until January 19.

A delighted Cllr Jonathan Purle who led the call for the deferment was heard on the zoom meeting to say: "I'm going to have a drink tonight!"

The Conservatives, who led the motion, only triumphed with the support of Liberal Democrat Nick de Wiggondene and independent Gordon Newton after a meeting that lasted almost four hours.