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Addressing a packed council meeting last night on behalf of 727 petitioners, Labour’s Emily Brothers set out a cross party case to Save the Secombe Theatre. She said:
“In just 6 days over 700 people have given their support for securing a sustainable future for the Secombe Theatre. People in Sutton are showing how the strength of public opinion can make a difference.
“Local people have told us through the online petition about treasured memories of visits to the Secombe Theatre with family and friends. People tell me about how proud they were to see their children perform at the Secombe Theatre. I share their passion for building on that legacy creatively and in a way that will endure. “
The petitioners told Councillors that benefits could be derived from the Secombe Theatre transferring into community ownership. However, they wanted to see effective consultation with longer timescales, to ensure local people are able to influence decisions about the future shape of theatres in the borough. They also wanted to have a more substantial period of development, to enable community groups to bring plans and funding to fruition.
Speaking alongside Andy Brice (who is leading calls to retain the Charles Cryer Theatre) and Samia Tossio (from Sutton’s Arts Network), Ms Brothers added:
“The Secombe Theatre is more than just a building to people, but a community hub that embraces local talent and has the potential to harness other activities and events. I want Sutton to be a vibrant place where people have fun, not some bleak suburb where there isn’t anything to do.
“I’m pleased that the Council has agreed to review their approach to engaging with local people, to include the timescales on decisions. It is also encouraging that the council is now being more measured in their expectations of community groups, accepting that only outline proposals covering minimum requirements need to be available in two months time.
“I’m greatly encouraged by the interest being shown by the Theatre Trust to assist community groups to find a viable solution.
“Despite last night’s constructive engagement and having made some progress, the Secombe Theatre is still under threat. That’s why I will continue with the petition, to find other ways that will give voice to our community’s response and hold the council to account.”

Emily Brothers presented a petition signed by 727 supporters to the night’s Environment and Neighbourhood Committee of the London Borough of Sutton on Thursday 4 September 2014. Emily Brothers is Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Sutton and Cheam, but has established a non-party political Petition and Facebook Group has been established to help facilitate the exchange of views and encourage community support for the future of The Secombe Centre in light of the Council’s proposed closure.

The campaign opposes the proposed closure of The Secombe Theatre and calls on The London Borough of Sutton to take positive steps to facilitate community leadership, extending the feasibility period to 31 March 2016. At 09.00 on 05/09/14 the petition had 762 signatories, 35 since the meeting closed.




Contact details:- E-Mail info@emilybrothers.com ~ Call 0776 506 0864 ~ Join Emily on Facebook