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Later opening 'vital' for arts centre

PUBLISHED: 10:58 15 April 2008 | UPDATED: 07:20 01 August 2010

OPERATORS of an arts centre who want it to stay open later are likely to be offered a compromise of a temporary extension.

Simon Raven, the chairman of trustees of The Cut in Halesworth, says being allowed to stay open later is vital to the centre's future.

OPERATORS of an arts centre who want it to stay open later are likely to be offered a compromise of a temporary extension.

Simon Raven, the chairman of trustees of The Cut in Halesworth, says being allowed to stay open later is vital to the centre's future.

At the moment it is allowed to open until 10.30pm, but he wants to change that until 11pm in the week, with the bar still closing at 10.30pm, and to be allowed to open until 12.30am for eight nights each year.

After complaints by neighbours that the changes will cause parking problems and more noise, Waveney District Council planning officers are recommending that the 11pm closing should be for a one-year trial period. They suggest that the later closing time should be midnight rather than 12.30 eight days a year, and on no more than two consecutive days.

Five neighbours have objected and one has supported the changes. Objections include noise from people leaving and smoking outside, traffic and parking problems, and that The Cut has ignored complaints in the past. They also fear that shows will start later if there are longer opening hours.

Mr Raven pledged that shows would not start later. “We rely on volunteers, and they don't want to stay here any longer than they need to,” he said. And he said that parking was no longer an issue now that residents' parking has been imposed in the area - although this ends at 8pm. He said that opening until 11pm was “very, very important” and that he would be disappointed if the centre was only granted a temporary permission.

“In today's climate it is not a very generous experience for people coming if we have to hurry them out of the building at the end of a show rather than being able to chat about what they have seen.”

The report from planning officers says: “The applicant and the objectors tell different stories about the problems encountered, the number of complaints made and the response to the complaints. However, as the environmental health officer points out, one complaint is too many.”

A decision will be made at the planning committee tomorrow.

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