‘We need a centre - we need it now’

09:44 04 April 2012

Community centre plans.

Community centre plans.

Archant

Community centre supporters speak up in Honiton

“This room says it all - Honiton needs a community centre,” one of Honiton’s most respected former GPs told the meeting.

Dr David Penwarden went on to explain that he and his wife, Heather, had recently travelled to the village of Northleigh to see a play.

“The facilities in Honiton are hopeless,” he said. “To have a facility like this would be marvellous for the town.

“Surely, the time has arrived? We are not going to get another opportunity.”

Dr Penwarden received a hearty round of applause.

Pensioner Tony Simpson, the former secretary of Honiton Senior Council, seconded the doctor’s sentiments.

“We have the planning permission, we have the site. Hopefully, we will have the funds.

“It seems to me that it beholds those who object to come up with alternative plans. I’d like to know where these other sites are.”

A Honiton Community College student said the centre was needed for drama productions. He said the college’s facilities are “dirty and old” and that the community centre presented “a great opportunity”.

Former community college teacher John Burgess said: “I was disgusted while I was teaching at that school. I was disgusted students did not have a decent place to put their performances on.

“I want my children paying for it. It’s worth it.”

Referring to traffic problems in Dowell Street, Mr Burgess added: “There may be minor problems, but they are being blown out of proportion.

“We need a centre and we need it now.”

Local actress Jan Guscott, who is a leading light in a number of theatrical groups, said: “I can’t understand why it’s taken so long, having poll after poll.

“I’m fed up of trying to find somewhere to rehearse. There is no theatre.”

Councillor Peter Corke drew attention to the packed programme of events being offered at Shaftesbury Arts Centre and pointed out Shaftesbury is a smaller town than Honiton.

“If they can do it, so can we,” he said.

Heather Penwarden said Honiton Memory Cafe and Honiton Decorative Fine Arts Society could both do with larger venues to meet in.

“There are groups in the town that not only want the centre but will support it,” she said.

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