Petition set up to save Hadleigh Old Fire Station amid reports it is closing

Petition - Campaigners outside Hadleigh Old Fire Station <i>(Image: Newsquest)</i>
Petition - Campaigners outside Hadleigh Old Fire Station (Image: Newsquest)

A CAMPAIGN has been launched in a bid to save Hadleigh Old Fire Station amid reports it will close in March.

The fire station closed back in 2009, before being converted into an artist and studio space.

It is run by arts organisations ACAVA, who lease the building from Essex County Council, however the group claims it has been unable to renegotiate the lease and will be forced to close on March 20.

READ MORE >> Meet the new owners of Rayleigh Lanes Café who vow to continue 37-year legacy

The community has since come together to form a group called Friends of Hadleigh Old Fire Station, and set up a petition, which received more than 500 signatures in just three days.

Amanda Bartlett Hill, one of the members of FoHOFS, said: “We have set up the petition to ask the council to ensure the hall is continued to be used as a community venue once the current management vacate.

“It is vital for many reasons. Firstly, the 21 creative businesses and 43 local businesses and groups rely on the space to operate their businesses and services.

“With such shortage of alternative local spaces, if the fire station isn’t facilitated for continued use it would be detrimental to the livelihood of these businesses.

“The space is also used in providing health and well-being support to all ages and we know from the recent pandemic how much a lack of social connectiveness can have detrimental effects on mental and physical health.

Allison Watson, a volunteer with Open Arts, added: “It would be awful to lose that art house space we call home.

“The fire station is so important to us, and the work we do there. It is a reason to leave the house for a lot of people.

The group want reassurances from County Hall that the building will remain open and available to the community.

Rebecca Harris, MP for Castle Point, said: “HOFs really has become the cultural hub of the Hadleigh community since it was opened as part of the Olympic legacy for our borough.

“What the artists who run their workshops upstairs and all the users of the hall downstairs need is reassurance that they will not be thrown out of the hall when the

ACAVA lease runs out. Essex County Council should also do all they can to support the setting up of the local Community Interest Company by the artists and the local community group.

“The county councillor for Hadleigh Jill Reeves and I have requested a meeting with the cabinet member responsible at the council to make the case.”