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Council reaffirms commitment to arts as The Anvil Trust is granted lease extension for The Haymarket

News release 10090, published on 21 Feb 2022
The Anvil Trust will continue to manage a key council-owned theatre for the next three years in a boost to the local arts offer.

The organisation currently manages The Anvil, The Haymarket and The Forge venues which are owned by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.

Following discussions with the trust, the current lease to manage The Haymarket, which was due to expire in September 2022, will be extended until September 2025.

As part of its strategic grant programme, the council will continue to make an annual investment in The Anvil Trust of £395,000, as part of its support for arts and culture organisations in the borough, subject to a vote on the council’s budget on Monday 28 February 2022.

This will allow the arts organisation to explore opportunities to increase the range of activities on offer at The Anvil and The Haymarket and additional sources of income in line with its new business plan.

To ensure The Haymarket continues to offer residents and visitors high quality arts and cultural activities and supports the local economy, the council will consider options for how the facility can be managed after 2025.

Acting Leader Cllr Simon Bound said: “Basingstoke and Deane’s cultural offer is an important part of what makes the borough a great place to live and we are extremely lucky to have these high quality facilities in our area. That is why we continue to provide one of the highest levels of expenditure per head of population on arts and culture out of all district councils across the region.

“As well as playing an important role in our local cultural offer and supporting the vibrancy of our town centre, The Haymarket is also a building of significant historical and cultural importance. Working alongside The Anvil Trust, we are keen to improve the range of activities on offer at the venue to benefit all local performers and residents.”

Chris Smith, Chair of The Anvil Trust said: “This is great news for Basingstoke and the surrounding area. Investment in arts and culture is a vital part of the recovery of the town centre and the regional economy. We are also delighted to receive this vote of confidence in the Trust’s work with the decision to extend our management of The Haymarket.

“After such a difficult couple of years for the town and its venues, this is a welcome and positive signal from the Council about the importance it places on arts and culture in the Borough. So many towns are now realising that arts and culture offer the best opportunity to bring people back into their centres to help revitalise the retail and leisure sectors.

“After years of investment in establishing Basingstoke as a centre of cultural excellence, Basingstoke is well positioned for a strong recovery with venues of the quality of The Anvil, The Haymarket and The Forge already established. We have ambitious plans for the future and look forward to playing a full part in the growth and success of the Borough.”


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