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by Safira Ali

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safira.ali@archant.co.uk

Cabinet members have set an agenda for the council’s culture services for the next three years.

The strategy boasts major changes including opening a new leisure centre in Romford; building two new libraries in Rainham and Harold Hill; restoring Raphael Park, and building a new visitor centre in Hornchurch Country Park.

The broad culture strategy was agreed last year but last week’s cabinet meeting looked at detailed sub-strategies for services including arts, parks and open spaces, sport and physical activity, libraries, heritage and history.

The report was welcomed by members who praised Cllr Andrew Curtin, cabinet member for culture, towns and communities, for his work putting the proposals together.

‘Huge opportunity’

Cllr Steven Kelly praised officers who had developed the report, but added to Cllr Curtin: “If someone like you wasn’t leading this it wouldn’t happen. This is a huge opportunity to go forward.”

The approval of the plans will help the council apply for external funding and help influence other strategies.

For Fairkytes Arts Centre this means its new two-storey extension will be open to host arts exhibitions, talks and workshops as well as a craft shop.

A programme of arts and participation will continue at myplace and arts education providers will continue their work there.

Cllr Curtin promised “bigger, brighter and better attended” events at Rainham Arts Fair, Havering Mela, Romford Arts Trail and Langtons summer and winter concerts.

Other objectives include increasing attendances at Queen’s Theatre and Fairkytes Arts Centre.

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