Editor's comment: Community venues need protection

PUBLISHED: 08:00 08 December 2018

The Retailery is set to close next year. Picture: Jon Paul Ladd 2015

The Retailery is set to close next year. Picture: Jon Paul Ladd 2015

Jon Paul Ladd 2015

This week's edition of the Recorder carries with it the sad news that the operators of The Retailery - a much loved shared space in Romford Market Place - will be closing the venue in January next year.

You can read all about it in Hayley Anderson’s full report on page 5, but it boils down to the decision by Havering Council not to offer the business any discretionary rates relief.

No one can be under any illusion about the fact that Havering Council is facing enormous financial pressures, and there isn’t a single part of me that envies the people making fiscal decisions at our local authority, but it will be interesting to see what endeavours the council believes are more worthy of support than The Retailery.

Anyone familiar with this paper’s community news pages (on p36 & 37 this week), will be aware of the amazing variety of events the space hosts, from Harry Potter quiz nights, to the Rainbow LGBT community night, or even just more relaxed drinks over board games or a particularly enjoyable rum and reggae night.

The venue was even recognised by the council this week at the Havering Night Life Awards 2018 (which you can read all about on page 9) as the borough’s best after work venue, which makes it all the stranger that it has not been backed by the powers that be.

Readers can surely take some comfort in the fact that the council insists it will continue to support diverse night life in the town centre, and that the space that is currently The Retailery will be kept open in one form or another, but the anxiety of business owners currently in the space, who fear it will never be the same should Things Made Public be forced to leave, is wholly understandable.

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