'We're not safe yet': Friends of Floral Hall urged to support venue
THE work starts now to safeguard the future of the grand old lady of entertainment in Hornsea.
Chairman of the Floral Hall Community Centre Richard Carmichael told a packed audience at the venue last night to continue their enthusiasm for making the takeover from East Riding Council work.
Residents campaigned in their thousands to stop the council turning the Floral Hall into a car park last year.
Council leader Stephen Parnaby announced an agreement in principle for a committee of volunteers to take it over, in time for the venue's 100th anniversary in July.
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Last night, Mr Carmichael revealed the council has given the freehold of the building, car park and overflow car park as well as spaces on the promenade to the committee.
The council will also contribute £180,000 to the refurbishment costs and £175,000 over five years for venue support.
Mr Carmichael said: "I have to stress, residents shouldn't think for one minute the Floral Hall is now safe.
"This is the beginning of making it work and keeping it safe in the future.
"The council have given us a good deal. They will also pay for all the legal costs of the transfer."
At the public meeting, Mr Carmichael said the committee was looking into lottery funding to help fund the £760,000 refurbishment of the hall, including repainting and new carpeting.
He said: "This will cover everything which needs to done to the building. We are looking at new toilets and dressing rooms under the stage which are damp.
"The support from residents has been marvellous and a fighting fund set up has raised £8,500 in seven or eight months."
Residents are now being asked to let the committee know what they want to be held in the hall in the future.
Hornsea Lion Michael Parry, who was at the meeting with his wife Angela, said: "It was the impossible dream for the hall to be saved.
"The campaign has shown the majority of people here love and adore the hall.
"It is not just for people here, but a venue for people outside the hall as well."
Angela said: "It is now time to look ahead. I want the Floral Hall to be a tourist attraction, like Hornsea Freeport and Hornsea Pottery.
"The place already offers wonderful food and a variety of events. The town would have died a death if we had lost the hall."
Brian Amherst, 65, has volunteered to carry out maintenance at the hall.
He said: "This venue is the centre of the community. I was horrified and disgusted when the council said it was going to knock the venue down. The news of the hall being saved is brilliant.
"The hall can be a success if it is run properly as a multi-purpose venue. I would like to see a cinema here in the future.
"There is lots of potential."
The council had said the venue was running at a £100,000-a-year loss, but residents and the committee are confident they can make it a success.
John Miller, secretary of the Hornsea Civic Society, said: "I am very pleased the council decided to hand it over.
"Hornsea residents put up a good fight and there is a determination in the town it will succeed."