10:45AM, Thursday 06 February 2014
A petition aiming to safeguard the future of Norden Farm Centre for the Arts has attracted more than 1,000 signatures in a week.
It comes after the Royal Borough sanctioned a £75,000 feasibility study to explore the possibility of transforming the Desborough Suite at Maidenhead Town Hall into a multi-purpose entertainment centre.
Launched by Norden Farm user Rachel Harrison, the petition appeals for the council not to ignore the findings of a previous study, carried out by cultural planner DCA, which stated that a revamped Desborough Suite could put Norden at 'significant risk'.
"I think the petition is partly to make a difference and for people out there who are concerned and also to increase awareness of Norden Farm and its services," said Rachel, who lives in Denham Close.
"I know a lot of people feel the way I do about Norden Farm.
"I think they do fantastically well."
The 47-year-old piano teacher added that although a feasibility study is key in gaining an understanding of what is needed in the area, it comes at too high a price.
"It depends what is planned for the Desborough Suite," she said. "In its existing function as a community hire place its very, very valuable.
"If it is enlarged, it's going to take away the bread and butter of Norden Farm."
The feasibility study was unanimously agreed at a Royal Borough cabinet meeting on Thursday, January 30.
One amendment was made to the original recommendation, with the panel stating they will include Norden Farm and Windsor Firestation in the preparation of the study.
Cllr Simon Dudley also pledged there would be no reduced funding for either venue.
Click here to view the petition.
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