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Holme Street Arts Centre to close for good?

From DB Cooper

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Apparently the Arts Centre under the Trades Club won't be reopening in its present guise. It'd be sad to lose one of the few community spaces remaining in the town, used as a rehearsal room for a brass band and a morris dance side among other groups, as well as a community soup kitchen. Can anyone shed any more light on this?

From Katie Hanson

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

We have been given 6 months notice to quit. We have been told the reason for our eviction is because there will no longer be a 'separate and distinct space' to be leased, after the flood restoration is complete. However, in a public statement on Facebook the BMC (landlord) stated that 'There has been no decision regarding future lessees' which is rather contradictory.

We are rather in the dark about all this ourselves as little clear information had been forthcoming. We were told to get all our furniture etc. out of the premises before the contractors went in, despite the contractors saying this was not necessary. As soon as our belongings were out of there we received notice to quit.

The landlords are perfectly within their rights to give us 6 months notice as there is a break clause in our recent 10 year lease. However, the manner in which we have been evicted has been deeply unpleasant and somewhat bewildering.

We have been tenants for 17 years and have never defaulted on rent or anything else.

What happens to the Centre now is not for us to speculate.

From Eleanor Ross

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

I can't believe it! The BMC approached you Katie, 17 years ago to get them out of a hole when Ground Floor moved to Salem Mill. They needed a community centre to operate and pay the rent. You obliged and have never defaulted.

17 years for no pay and now kicked out! That's gratitude for you!

From David Thompson

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

What is the BMC?

From Eleanor Ross

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The Trades Club building is owned by the Labour Party and is managed by a Building Management Committee (BMC) elected from Labour Party members to manage the building on their behalf. The building was leased to two lessees, The Trades Club Social Club and Holme Arts Centre. The Labour Party also has an office and meeting room.

From Katie Hanson

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The BMC are the Buildings Management Committee, which at present appears to consist of only 2 people. The building is owned by the Labour Party and the BMC manage it on their behalf. There was no mention of this deeply unpopular eviction at the last full Labour Party meeting. The BMC merely reported that architects plans were to be drawn up.

From Vikki Uttley

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Ground floor, Labour Party ownership, well loved and used community centre, eviction, no explanation, surely not,... another 'I'm for me' party but please not Labour .....

From Abi L

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Who are the two BMC members? And can the Labour Party overrule this decision?

From Jack Hughes

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

I'm amazed and frankly somewhat disappointed that more people on this forum seem to be bewailing the loss of Waites' meat pies than the closure of the Arts Centre. This is a building that has had over 30 years continuous use as a vital community resource, yet the silence on the topic ecently has been remarkable. Does anyone have any further news as to what's going on?

From Steve Sweeney

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Following the recent flooding of the building at Holme Street the ground floor, including the Arts Centre and the Labour Party Office and meeting room, have to be gutted. Initial indicators are that the work would take around six months but this could be longer as the timing for the initial drying out has already slipped because asbestos has been uncovered. As with all flood damaged premises there is a need to improve flood resilience and we are in the position of many that we are unlikely to get affordable flood insurance in the future.

It would also be remiss of us as landlords not to take this opportunity to make the entire building fully disabled accessible so that the whole community can use all parts of the building.

Consequently, it is clear that the ground floor layout will need rethinking. We are therefore asking architects to come up with plans that will both improve access and will build in as much flood resilience as possible.

We are not limiting the layout options available and the main criteria is to maximise potential use around three key elements; community use, the Trades Club as a venue and the requirements of the Labour Party for office and meeting space.

There has been no decision regarding future lessees because the decision about how the management of the building is organised to deliver our three objectives will of necessity be made when the layout is finalised. It is not a prerequisite of the design that the three elements are physically separate and distinct as they have been as that may not be possible.

Whatever the final designs it will not provide exactly the same area that is currently leased to the Arts Centre and as we will be unable to meet our contractual obligations under their lease the Building Management Committee have initiated the six month option to terminate the existing lease.

The building will continue to be used for community groups and we hope to accommodate as many of the previous user groups as possible.

From Vikki Uttley

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Thank you Steve Sweeney for putting me/community in the picture. I just hope that the former users will be top of the list for new tenants. I will now go and untwist my undercrackers.....

From Katie Hanson

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The flood followed by the eviction has created a natural, albeit unpleasant, ending to Holme St Arts Centre. (we are a not-for-profit company and take our name with us). We ran the centre voluntarily for 17 years and are now exhausted, not to mention older! The best thing about it all was the deep and unique affection people had for the place, shabby though it was. Huge thanks to all the people who have supported us over the years; all our groups, the 'Friends of Holme St Arts', the ladies who lunched, Keith and his market traders and the lovely people at Sita Trust who gave us the grant for the lovely new toilets, so sadly destroyed when they were barely completed.

This is the end of a chapter not only for us, but for Hebden Bridge.
It would have been nice if the parting words from the landlords were 'thank you for doing this for us' rather than 'sling your hook and be quick about it'.
Oh well.

From Susan Quick

Thursday, 25 February 2016

I wastold by a market trader that following evacuation because of the floods they'd been told they couldn't go back. He's been running a stall at the Sunday market for 7 or 8 years and now suddenly its gone.

Then I met a woman in the street who said there was a petition going round complaining at the dictatorial behaviour of the Trades Club; they'd annexed the ground floor for dressing rooms.

Yes OK of course the bands need somewhere to relax but what is happening to our community? Holme Street Arts is a thriving community centre hosting local brass band rehearsals, Tai chi and dance classes, good food at lunch time and so many more.

I led Enabling Theatre workshops there for disabled people - it being one of the few spaces with full wheelchair access - for 5 years.

How about a process of discussion with the community to decide what we want? Isn't that the fundamental philosophy of the Trades Club?

From Phil M

Friday, 26 February 2016

Susan - Not sure who the 'woman on the street' was but Steve has already above laid out quite clearly above as to what is happening.

Devastation from the flood was horrible but does provide an opportunity for the building use to be revisited, optimised, flood-proofed and for disabled access to be provided to all levels. This has to be a good thing!!

The Trades Club is not dictatorial and never will be. It remains a community based and community run club and venue which adds massive value alongside the community space below it.

Once the refurb is done, both will hopefully reside together again adding the town's community feel and ethics.

From Katie Hanson

Friday, 26 February 2016

I think people are still confused about the difference between the BMC and the Trades Club.

The Trades is also a much loved community resource with a great reputation for quality music and fund-raising for local and larger causes. There is a certain glamour to the music scene though that overshadows the equally (if not more so) valuable resources of the community centre. The main reason for the remodelling is to provide disabled access to upstairs which (I know it sounds harsh but it is true) is mostly about ticking boxes for funding requirements. It's not about care and concern for wheelchair users! If it were, the community centre would be prioritised as it already has many disabled users and visitors.

The new, smaller community space, will be less of a facility by definition. And who will run it? The Trades cannot afford to pay double their current rent and it is highly unlikely any group or person would do it voluntarily like we did. Maybe the BMC will run it themselves?

For all Councillor Sweeney's explanations there would seem to be some plan afoot that is not being divulged. There would have to be for them to take this risk.

From Gary W

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Whilst I can see why Katie is unhappy with what's happening, I do think her last post is a little misleading. To say that the main reason for enabling disabled access to Trades Club is "mostly about ticking boxes for funding requirements" is simply not true. Although it will help the Trades Club to better meet various criteria for funding/grant applications, the main benefits will be felt by the potential new users of the venue, ie, disabled people/ wheelchair users, whom have for decades been denied access, unable to enjoy the main music venue in the area. Disabled access isn't a luxury to help with funding applications. It's about equality for disabled people and is something that's very long overdue.

I don't see why the Arts Centre and the BMC can't get together and sought this out. Surely, once the access and flood resilience works have been carried out, the Arts Centre will be able to re-open? As far as i know, this option is still on the table, but the public venting of all this bad blood helps no-one.

The Labour Party (via the BMC) have been very good landlords to both upstairs and downstairs over the years, charging a pittance in rent to provide our town with 2 fantastic community spaces. I sincerely hope that this matter can be resolved to satisfaction of all parties.

From Katie Hanson

Sunday, 28 February 2016

I am not the only one upset by this Gary. The many many users of the centre and the hundreds of people indirectly affected by the closure are upset too. I am merely the person best placed to give an informed opinion.

The landlords have indeed always been excellent over the years, and neither facility would exist today without their tolerance and help.

The issue here is the incredibly bad way in which this eviction has been managed. The landlords did not meet with us to discuss this. They evicted us in a manner that can only be considered underhand. The whole business has been badly mismanaged.

You are right it is not helping anyone airing all this in public but what else can the landlords expect under circumstances that are entirely of their own making? Injustice of any kind should be talked about openly and the future of a valuable community resource is certainly a matter for public discussion.

Personally speaking, I am very relieved to be rid of this very time consuming job after 17 years of voluntary input. I had been wondering for a few years how that could be managed without letting everyone down.

I get a multitude of questions every day on the subject of the closure. If I could now bow out please and refer any further questions to Councillor Sweeney it would be appreciated.

From Gary W

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Of course you're not the only person upset Katie, who suggested you were? The bottom line is there is no space at the moment to let and this will be the case until the fairly substantial works have been completed. As I understand it, this is likely to take several months or more. Once the new space is ready, it will require new contracts with the tenants that reflect the changed nature of the downstairs area. The various groups that have used the space will then able to continue doing so. Therefore, I don't think it's fair to traduce the landlord for an eviction (resulting from the flood) that in reality, they had no control over.

It may well be that the BMC could and perhaps should of handled this in a more sensitive manner but these people too, like you, are volunteers, freely giving their time for the benefit of the community.

This should be a good news story. Getting disabled access for such an important building in our community is a fantastic development and I for one applaud & fully welcome it!

From Katie Hanson

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

It is of course good that the Trades will get disabled access, a ground floor beer cellar, band dressing rooms etc and the Labour Party will have a bigger meeting room, but the advantage of all that is far outweighed by the disadvantage for the wider community. A music/ drinking venue is a lot less use to most people than a community centre and market. The community space will be considerable smaller and Councillor Sweeney only says 'as many as possible' of the existing groups will be accommodated after the remodelling.

And consider the many people who have lost their livelihoods. Our own caretaker/ manager for one and many of the market traders for whom alternative outdoor venues are not viable. The market has been running for 30 years in that location as was a major attraction for tourists at weekends. This will have an impact on visitor numbers and affect local businesses too.

And this has not happened because of the floods. The floods have been used as an excuse for this to happen.

If that's the way it's going to be then so be it. But it would have been far better if the Building Management Committee had sought the opinion of the people of Hebden Bridge before taking such a radical step.

From Phil M

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

I see this as a positive, not a negative. The situation was born out of flood-based necessity and if the whole building is optimised for all users - Labour Party, Arts Centre, Community space and Trades Club then this must be a good thing!!

Its a hugely unique and important building (built by the people for the people) and its on-going management, accessibility and usability should be a priority.

Having a venue like the Trades in the town is an amazing asset and the team there work endlessly to bring us the best music and community events.

Having a ground floor community space is equally important and will hopefully return in a similar vein.

It all being managed by the Building Management Committee and owned by the Labour party makes it even more unique.

Long may it remain so!

From Graham Barker

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

By now, Katie must feel she's talking to a brick wall. From a bystander's point of view it's clear that her complaint is mainly about the way things were handled - no consultation, no consideration, no basic courtesy. If you value fair dealing you simply don't treat people like that. Perhaps some of those keen to argue against Katie could dismount from their high horses and just apologise. It wouldn't hurt.

From James Brierley

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

I totally agree with the last post in that the real issue is not the closure per se, but the manner in which it has been mismanaged by the Building Management Committee.

We spent a hard month getting the place clleaned and only after being told we had to empty all contents to facilitate the repairs were we informed that the lease was being terminated. Surely this was known prior to our departure, but nobody was aware until the building had been vacated. This can only be because there was already a plan for the redevelopment in place. In which case, why no consultation in advance?

Also, given the parlous state of Trades Club finances, where is the money for this project coming from? The scale of the admittedly sketchy proposals so far seem to indicate that is will be in the tens of thousands, only partly covered by insurance?

From Phil M

Thursday, 28 April 2016

I wonder what the best method is to gain updates on this process? Feels like it should be made visible to all interested...

I'm sure the process will take time and is being managed well, I'm just interested in the enhancements to the community spaces on both floors. Hopefully this will be the start of an exciting new phase of the buildings history.