Art lodge closure will make Portsmouth a ‘cultural desert’

Protesters are unhappy with the treatment of the Lodge Arts Centre and Park Cafe operators. Picture: Tom Cotterill PPP-170702-230043001
Protesters are unhappy with the treatment of the Lodge Arts Centre and Park Cafe operators. Picture: Tom Cotterill PPP-170702-230043001
Portsmouth Grammar School pupils, back from left  to right: Sam Rush, Oliver Clark, Hermione Barrick, Michaela Clancy, Ilana Berney, Lizzy Greenfield, Charlotte Phillips, Grace Goodfellow, Caleb Barron, Robert Merriam. Front row, left to right: Katie Morrison, Gemma Webb, Lana Watt, Alfie Perry-Ward

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PROTESTERS have claimed Portsmouth is at risk of being transformed into a ‘cultural desert’ after one of the city’s art institutions was axed.

Cultural activists of all ages rallied outside the Lodge Arts Centre & Park Café, in Anglesea Road, Landport, last night to vent their fury after the community hub was shut.

Demonstrators stood on the pavement outside the lodge, armed with plaques, as the gates to the park had been locked early.

Among the protestors was Jay Groovara, of Portsmouth.

The 35-year-old said the loss of the arts facility was threatening to dry up the rich cultural scene on offer in his home city.

He said: ‘This town was a cultural desert until the lodge was opened. This is what we could go back to.’

Ben Pringle, 25, of North End, said he was outraged by Portsmouth City Council’s shock move to repossession the cherished facility.

He said: ‘This is a horrendous move. It’s one of the few places left for creative centres in Portsmouth and it’s being stripped away.’

Dee Matsuda, 36, of Fratton hit out at the council and branded the authority’s actions as ‘underhanded’.

He said: ‘The council seemed to plaster this as some little hippy hot spot but its far more than that.

‘The lodge is a community haven and they’re taking that away from us.’