It has been announced that Maidstone Borough Council’s Economic Regeneration and Leisure Committee (ERL) has ended the contract with Parkwood Theatres who had been running the Hazlitt theatre.
During a cross party meeting on Thursday 12 November, the committee unanimously voted to reduce costs to the Council, agreeing that the situation is unviable in its current state and to negotiate a contract termination with Parkwood Theatres.
Sadly, we find ourselves in a situation where we have to decide on the best use of our resources at this moment. We want to bring the building back under Council control so we can better manage the finances around it during this period of uncertainty and review the re-opening of the theatre, under a new arrangement at a time when it is viable and sustainable.
We recognise it has been a very difficult time for all the staff involved at the theatre. Sadly, the Hazlitt Theatre has been closed since March and it continues to be closed. It is a real heads vs hearts decision, the uncertain future and taking care of the tax-payers money, the termination option was unfortunately the conclusion.
We do not underestimate the value of arts and culture and the impact it has on our wellbeing. This pandemic has shown us how incredibly important it is to value the creativity and social interaction a theatre can bring.
Once we are able, we will make sure that all the community groups, theatre and dance groups continue to benefit from this fantastic asset.
We look forward to welcoming back our residents, for them to enjoy the theatre at some time in the near future.Cllr Martin Cox Leader of Maidstone Borough Council
The ERL Committee decision regarding the future of the Hazlitt decision, has now been ‘called in for scrutiny’ and will be referred to the Policy and Resources Committee where it will be discussed further on Wednesday 25 November. The decision of the Policy and Resources Committee will bring the matter to a conclusion.