Councillor Coxshall introduced
the report and stated that it outlined the conversations that had
been happening between the Council and community groups since July
2021 regarding the Thameside Complex. He stated that if the
Thameside Complex was transferred to the community, it would not
only save the Council money, but would improve the cultural and
arts offering within the borough. He stated that conversations were
moving forward and progressing well, and more meetings were
scheduled for the end of the month before a final report was
presented to Cabinet in March. He felt that this project provided a
good opportunity for the service and the borough, and hoped the
outcome would be the transfer of the Thameside Complex to the
community. He felt that this would be a long-term solution and
would improve the service. Councillor Huelin thanked the community
groups for the involvement and felt the conversation had been
productive and constructive. She echoed comments from Councillor
Coxshall and felt the community would be better placed to run the
Thameside Complex, and would provide a much better arts offering
within the borough. Councillor Coxshall added that if the Thameside
was run by the community, they would be able to dedicate the time
to it that it deserved, as well as increasing funding
opportunities. He stated that the Council and community groups
would work for the next three months to get it right and provide a
Councillor Spillman stated that he had previously worked with local arts groups following a motion to expand the arts offer in Thurrock. He felt that the best option for the Thameside Complex would be a community transfer as it would improve the Thameside, and would increase revenue for the arts in Thurrock, as the Complex would be tailored to the demands of the local community. He felt there was lots of future potential for the Thameside and felt that a community building would improve the service through improving infrastructure and expanding artistic education for residents. Councillor Hebb thanked officers, Member and the community groups for their work on this project, and felt that there was still some way to go until a decision was reached. He felt that although the staff in the Thameside worked hard to provide a good service, Thurrock Council was not best placed to run a theatre, and this could be better done by the local community. Councillor Johnson urged local community groups to work together and to contact the Council if they needed help or advice. Councillor Huelin added that the transfer to the community also provided staff more opportunities, as the theatre could put on different shows and offerings, without being limited by Thurrock Council policies. She added that community groups were also better placed to access Arts Council funding, which Thurrock Council could help facilitate and administer.
RESOLVED: That Cabinet:
1. Noted the main points from the meeting with Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 16 November 2021.
2. Noted the main points from the community based Roundtable meetings.
3. Supported the relevant Portfolio Holders and Officers to continue with further discussions with the community over the future of the Thameside building and related services.
Reason for decision: as outlined in the report
This decision is subject to call-in