Mayor Gordon Oliver was this evening thwarted in his last minute executive motion to sell off The Palace Avenue Theatre in Paignton!
An amendment was put forward to oppose this from happening by Councillor Chris Lewis and instead to go ahead with an as yet unnamed Community Interest Company to take over the running of The Palace Avenue Theatre with the full support of Torbay Council instead of selling the Theatre off.
Councillor Chris Lewis stated that he was shocked that a building of such importance to Paignton and Torbay as a whole was threatened at such short notice with no consultation.
Councillor David Thomas also addressed council stating he was ‘shocked disgusted’ that we should have to dig through a series of papers on the table tonight to find this executive motion, not a mayoral motion but a executive motion that is coming forward, that we know absolutely nothing about, this place, as councillor Lewis said, would be absolutely heaving if this had been published in advance but what do we get? two minutes before the meeting, we get this put on the table.
Councillor David Thomas continued ‘I have this to put on the table Mr Mayor, how does this fill members with confidence to have confidence in you to take this council forward”!
Councillors Chris Lewis, James O’Dwyer, Adrian Sanders, Nick Bye amongst many other Torbay Councillors from across the political parties gave passionate speeches to oppose Mayor Olivers executive proposal.
Prior to the final substantive vote Mayor Oliver said ‘I have made it absolutley clear that there are two separate issues, the ownership of the property and granting of the lease, don’t confuse the two, ownership is irrelevant, those people who want to use the property for cultural purposes then I don’t have a problem with that, what I do have a problem with is that we have 46 projects with this council none of which is started and we have agreed another one today. Where are the priorities? because your not going to do them all, you may not do any for the next 2 years, if you are going to do these things then you need to increase the range of the TDA (Torbay Development Agency) but this is just impossible to do’.
Mayor Gordon Oliver went through the funding on offer from the Arts council and concluded by saying ‘we want the opportunity to have a flourishing theatre, one that has a future but doesn’t burden anybody’
The final recorded substantive vote was as follows:
25 for Councillor Lewis’s amendment to proceed with a Community Interest Company to take over the running of the Palace Avenue Theatre and not to be sold off.
Finally, a date of October 1st was set to report back to council regarding progress with the Community Interest Company
Below is a Link to an Audio Recording of the Section of the Council Meeting relating to the proposal to sell off the Palace Theatre.
It is just over an hour long but well worth the listen.