Portsmouth City Council Please Allow The Arts Lodge To Continue. Do Not Terminate Their Lease.
The Arts Lodge is a lovely building in a corner of Victoria Park, just off Portsmouth City Centre.
The Art & Soul Traders run the Arts Lodge as a community arts and music venue with cafe. They are a 'not for profit' social enterprise that has helped community members get involved in a number of arts projects, which are not only of benefit to the city, but to the volunteers themselves.
As well as a hub for Art & Soul Traders, The Arts Lodge is a place where local people can meet others, take part in an arts group, or just enjoy a beautiful and peaceful space in this busy, noisy city. It is a place loved and cherished by Portsmouth people of all ages and they would be devastated if The Arts Lodge closed.
However, Art & Soul Traders have heard that Portsmouth City Council have now decided that they want to turn The Arts Lodge building into a day centre for elderly people, so they are refusing to renew the lease to Art & Soul Traders and The Arts Lodge will therefore be forced to close.
Portsmouth City Council say that this will provide employment opportunities, but The Arts Lodge already does that, and at no cost to the council. Plus, there are so few spaces in Portsmouth where young and old can meet and interact in an ambient and enjoyable setting, that the decision to turn the building into a day care centre for elderly residents appears to be a backward step which will be of no benefit to the community.
Also, as John Pounds centre is just a few hundred yards away and already provides a day centre for the elderly, it is unlikely that the Arts Lodge building would be necessary. And many elderly residents prefer to go to the Arts Lodge, because it is such a unique place, in a way which could never be achieved in a local authority day centre setting.
This is just one suggestion put forward as a replacement to The Arts Lodge. It could well be that others will be made by PCC over time. But whatever the decision, as things stand right now, the lease on The Arts Lodge will not be renewed.
Therefore, we, the citizens of the City of Portsmouth and surrounding areas, wish to protest against the termination of the lease for the Arts Lodge & Park Cafe, Victoria Park.
No direct communication has been received by Art & Soul Traders about any future plans for the building, and no justification on how the proposed plans are a better deal for the tax payer has been provided. This is unfair not just to the Art and Soul Traders CIC, community, but also to Portsmouth Council Tax payers.
We demand that Portsmouth City Council allow the Arts Lodge to continue providing excellent service to the community and that the lease should be protected for future generations.