Victoria Park arts centre hopes for rent U-turn


Council to debate rental costs in Gosport

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THE founder of an arts centre says the ‘future is bright’ after claiming Portsmouth City Council look set to trim a planned rent increase.

Mark Lewis, of the Lodge Arts Centre, in Victoria Park, feared the venue could be forced to close after plans were put forward to raise the annual charge from £4,500 to £10,000 – as reported by The News.

The council argued it was to bring the property in line with other commercial ventures.

But Mr Lewis said he is set to receive a letter stating a significantly less charge increase.

He said: ‘They are going to bring it down, hopefully to £6,000 for three years.

‘The future is looking brighter but we don’t know how much they are putting it down to yet.’

Leader of the council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘We appreciate that the cafe is useful to spreading the rise over a couple of years might be helpful.’