Arts venue given boost after councillors allow ‘vital’ fundraiser to go ahead

Mark Lewis, founder of The Arts Lodge. 

Picture: Sarah Standing (161256-6315)
Mark Lewis, founder of The Arts Lodge. Picture: Sarah Standing (161256-6315)

Morning weather and travel: Bleak start to the day

  • Arts centre allowed to throw fundraiser on Saturday despite objection from council’s environmental health team
  • Centre is experiencing financial struggles
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A ‘VITAL’ fundraiser for a community arts venue will go ahead after councillors threw out a noise objection.

The Lodge Arts Centre & Park Cafe in Victoria Park will be able to hold a Valentines-themed event on Saturday for more than 150 people after Portsmouth City Council’s sub-licensing over-ruled the complaint.

It’s a great result for us and it seems that the councillors had seen sense

Mark Lewis, director at The Lodge Arts Centre

Mark Lewis, director at the Lodge Centre said that the councillors ‘had seen sense’ after the event had been thrown into doubt due to an objection raised by the council’s environmental health team. The objection came from Richard Maidment, the council’s environment protection officer after he received complaints from officers who live in the Wardroom of nearby HMS Nelson.

The complaints referred to loud noise after midnight during previous events.

However, councillors decided to let this event take place after Mr Lewis told them outdoor music would cease at midnight and that recorded music would be monitored.

Mr Lewis said after the meeting: ‘It’s a great result for us and it seems that the councillors had seen sense.

‘There must have been a lack of communication as we were not passed on details of the complaints and I hope that in the future, these can be passed on to us as we want to make sure we can address every complaint and see what we can do to help. It’s vital this fundraiser goes ahead.’

He added that the event would allow the Lodge to pay its rent for the month and help prevent bankruptcy.

Mr Maidment said during the meeting that he had passed on complaints to the centre last September but that he had not revealed who the complainants were.

He read a complaint from one of the naval officers after an event at the Lodge last year.

It stated: ‘We are not killjoys and do not want to spoil their fun but I and others have been kept awake by the extreme noise coming from the Lodge. There are many of us living here who have critical safety roles at work. The effect of a poor night’s sleep before a strenuous working day cannot be underestimated.’

The Lodge’s future is in doubt with Mr Lewis set to meet the council on Thursday to discuss a future lease agreement following the expiry of its current lease. The centre has been told by the council to find a new home.

Mr Lewis added: ‘If we have to move out then we want a reasonable alternative, not a derelict building that will not take years of work.’