The future of Arbroath’s Webster Memorial Theatre is worryingly shrouded in mystery following a public consultation.
In a recent Angus Citizens’ Panel survey, Angus Council pointed out that harsh decisions would have to be taken with regards to funding of projects for the next two to three years.
And, astonishingly for Arbroath, one of the options included in the questionnaire to cut costs is the closure of the Webster.
In a letter to the Arbroath Herald, Geoff Bray, a member of the panel, said: “Let’s not forget that if I am correct, the Webster family gifted the theatre to the people of Arbroath in memory of one lost in the First World War, and as such belongs to the people of Arbroath - even if in hearts and minds only - not Angus Council, despite recent refurbishment costs which I believe also involved lottery funding.
“These points are surely sufficient reason that the theatre cannot be closed on a whim. There are probably many sides to this argument and it is not denied that savings have to be made somewhere.
“The idea of even thinking about closure as an option, is despicable, an outrage and morally wrong.”
The Herald immediately contacted Angus Council seeking clarification on the issue, asking if this was seriously being considered as an option for spending cuts.
But a spokeswoman for the council would neither confirm nor deny this to be the case, directing us instead to the online questionnaire which closed on Friday (November 15).
Speaking when this was launched, Angus Council leader Iain Gaul said the research would help the council to be better informed about residents’ priorities.
He explained: “Improving the quality of life for Angus’ residents is our business, and we shouldn’t be planning that business without knowing which services residents put most value on.
“The detailed research questionnaire shows the kind of options open to the council and asks people to choose the services, and levels of service, most important to them.
“In the coming years we will have significantly less money so there is going to be a tough trade-off between the service standards we would like and the money available to pay for them.”
Could the council close the WebsterTheatre only a few years after spending £4 million on a re-fit?
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