Show will go on for stage society

A scene from the Hartlepool Stage Society production of The Soiund of Music.
A scene from the Hartlepool Stage Society production of The Soiund of Music.

A STAGE society will continue to be based at a community centre after a senior councillor agreed to an extension of the lease.

Hartlepool Stage Society has been based in the Throston Community Centre since last May and a deal has now been struck for that to continue.

Officers at Hartlepool Borough Council say the move will continue to generate a small income while it will also give the stage society more time to sell their Osborne Road property, which will allow them to buy the Throston site.

Independent councillor Paul Thompson, portfolio holder for finance and corporate services, agreed plans to extend the lease and option to buy the centre for a further 12 months from May, on the same terms as the current agreement.

It followed a request from the group as they anticipated not being able to sell the Osborne Road property in time to fund the purchase.

Confidential terms had been negotiated ahead of the meeting.

A report by Graham Frankland, assistant director of resources, said it was proposed to extend the lease and option for a further 12 months from May 2013.

Mr Frankland added: “The continued letting of the centre will produce a small income stream and substantial revenue savings as the running costs are borne by the tenant.

“The Stage Society has not been able to sell its existing property in Osborne Road as yet and therefore needs more time to achieve this in order to be able to purchase the Community Centre.”

Coun Thompson said: “I have agreed to extend the lease and option terms for a further 12 months from the end of the current lease arrangement.

“It is not just the drama but other community facilities that go on in there and it is a vibrant community centre.

“We have a duty to support this and it is well used and well attended.

“I am quite happy to support this.”

The original decision for a lease and option to purchase the centre was granted to Hartlepool Stage Society back in January last year.

The centre had previously been offered up for Community Asset Transfer but there had not been any interest and the centre was then marketed to let.

That led to interest from two interested parties and the stage society made a higher rental bid.

Officers said at the time the real interest of the Stage Society was to buy the property but it was not in a position to buy it until it had sold their Osborne Road site.

The building has not been put on the open market.

Officers say the property adjoins two other council owned properties, Throston library and Exmoor Grove Children’s Home, and its sale could “limit” future use or redevelopment of those sites.