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Public's views sought on Spalding's South Holland Centre

The public are being asked for their views on what they would like to see at the South Holland Centre as it prepares to reopen after Covid.

Theatres were able to re-open yesterday (Monday) as lockdown restrictions eased further, but bosses at the Spalding venue first want to find out what people are comfortable with - as well as what kind of events they want to see on the centre’s programme.

South Holland District Council, which runs the centre, says it wants to ensure audiences feel safe and secure - and that it caters for their tastes.

Spalding News, next to South Holland Centre in Market Place. (32727411)
Spalding News, next to South Holland Centre in Market Place. (32727411)

It says this listening exercise will be followed up with further work to try to understand the ‘needs, ambitions and priorities’ for the town centre post-lockdown.

St Nicholas Players was in the midst of dress rehearsals for Alan Bennett comedy Lady in the Van when the pandemic forced the theatre to close last March. The centre has not re-opened since.

Group member Martin Tyrrell said: “I think the sooner we get back to normality to the better. As amateur dramatic societies we need some sort of certainty. It probably takes us six months to plan and put on a show and unless we have an idea of when we can get back into there then it’s difficult to plan.”

He said he has conducted his own social media poll that proved people in the area have an appetite to return to live theatre shows.

The council says the return of the South Holland Centre will be backed up with ‘further exciting initiatives’ to support the town’s businesses and markets.

Councillor Gary Taylor, the district council’s portfolio holder for communities and facilities, said: “As our town centres begin to fully reopen following lockdown, a strong cultural offering is key to help bring the community back together and to provide leisure opportunities for people to enjoy.

“It also plays a vital role in helping to stimulate our hospitality sector, with a great range of restaurants and pubs near the centre for people to use before and after shows.

“Despite the Zoom calls, virtual quizzes and online screenings we have become accustomed to, nothing can replace the shared experience of a live event and the positive impact this can have on our mental wellbeing.

“We want to make sure that as many residents as possible feel safe to return to these events, and that they are relevant and engaging for audiences of all types and ages. After over a year without audiences we cannot wait to open the centre’s doors and start welcoming people in. Thank you to everyone who uses and supports the venue, we hope to see you all again soon.”

The survey can be filled in at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SouthHollandCentreSurvey. Alternatively, people can email consultations@sholland.gov.uk with their views.

Responses will close on Thursday, May 20.

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