Extraordinary meeting tonight over future of Wellingborough’s Castle theatre

The Castle theatre in Wellingborough
The Castle theatre in Wellingborough

An extraordinary meeting to discuss future plans for a town theatre is taking place tonight (Tuesday).

Members of Wellingborough Council will meet to consider how they wish to proceed after The Castle (Wellingborough) Ltd (TCW) put forward a proposal to redevelop the theatre.

How The Castle theatre in Wellingborough could look if the re-development plans get the go-ahead

How The Castle theatre in Wellingborough could look if the re-development plans get the go-ahead

TCW, which is contracted to run the council-owned theatre, wants to redevelop the site so it has a 500-seat main theatre with capacity to go up to 700 for music concerts, a 200-seat studio theatre, a 100-seat cinema screen, a 100-seat restaurant, two bars and an enhanced foyer and public spaces.

Their aim with the redevelopment, likely to cost between £10 million and £12 million, is to make it a more viable business and lead to it being financially self-sufficient.

But to do this, there would have to be changes to the agreement between the council and TCW.

Councillors will be asked to determine one of four courses of action at tonight’s meeting.

The first option is to agree to TCW’s initial proposal of a community asset transfer and a contract termination payment of £616,000 with TCW to carry out the redevelopment of the site.

Another option is to agree to TCW’s second proposed alternative solution of no asset transfer and that the council provides the capital funding while TCW carries out the redevelopment and the council provides a cashflow loan of approximately £300,000 in 2016/17 and 2017/18 in lieu of contractual payments for 2018/19 and 2019/20.

The third option is to accept neither proposal and to let the current contract continue under the same terms, with renegotiations of price and service delivery prior to April 2017.

The final option is to terminate the contract.

Depending on the council’s decision, councillors may then ask officers to investigate any other potential actions, which may include an in-house development proposal and capital bid for the site.

Some papers relating to tonight’s meeting are exempt and not available to view online as they contain detailed financial information and privileged legal advice.

For a similar reason, the press and the public will be asked to leave the council chamber while councillors consider the options on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information.

To read more about TCW’s multi-million pound plans for the theatre, which were revealed last October, click here