Assurance on new arts centre in Thetford

PEOPLE have been urged “not to worry” about the future of a new centre for the arts in a Thetford church, despite the mysterious closure of the town’s current group.

Thetford Arts Centre, formerly based in the Guildhall, had been due to take up residence within St Peter’s Church, which is in the process of being renovated.

But a message on its website this week simply said: “The Thetford Arts Centre would like to thank all those who have helped us in the past.

“It is with regret that we inform you that the doors to the Thetford Arts Centre have now closed and will not be running any more.”

Nobody from the committee was willing to comment on the closure but Thetford town manager Susan Glossop, who is leading the church renovation, said plans for the church had not been affected.

“It’s all positive and people don’t need to worry,” she said. “We’ve got lots of things in the pipeline. We were accommodating the art gallery within what we are doing in the church.

“It doesn’t make a difference to what’s going on in the church. It’s always been the plan to have a big centre for the arts in there with big exhibitions. At the same time if singers of bands or debating groups wanted to use the church they could. It’s all still going to go ahead.”

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The church was bought by Thetford Town Council for �1 two years ago and since then has spent around �25,000 on removing asbestos, repairing the leaded windows and other works.

Members of staff from the Thetford branch of Barclay’s Bank were in the church yesterday using hammers and chisels to remove a layer of cement and adhesive covering the floor as part of the company’s social responsibility programme.

Assistant manager Diane King said: “It’s quite rewarding see it all coming off. Communities are a big part of what we do and it’s good to do anything we can to help.

“For Thetford, this sort of thing is a really good idea.”