Hadleigh Old Fire Station (HOFS) has been a cultural and community hub for our Borough since 2012. Local artists have workshops there and the appliance hall is used for many local events and community fayres.
However, the building is owned by Essex County Council and is currently run on their behalf by an organisation called ACAVA. ACAVA have decided to terminate their management arrangement of the building and gave all tenants until the end of March to vacate the premises.
Therefore, local MP Rebecca Harris is currently working with the local councillors Jill Reeves and Jacqui Thornton to facilitate a discussion between Essex County Council, the users of the building, Hadleigh Community Group and the newly formed Friends of HOFS. What Rebecca and the local councillors want to see is security for the tenants and users of HOFS in the short term and support for the hall users and the community to manage the building themselves.
Rebecca Harris MP commented:
“HOFs really has become the cultural hub of the Hadleigh community since it was opened as part of the Olympic legacy for our Borough. What the artists who run their workshops upstairs and all the users of the hall downstairs need is reassurance that they will not be thrown out of the hall when the ACAVA lease runs out. Essex County Council should also do all they can to support the setting up of the local Community Interest Company by the artists and the local community group. The County Councillor for Haldeigh Jill Reeves and I have requested a meeting with the Cabinet member responsible at the council to make the case.”
Malcolm Brown, Hadleigh & Thundersley Community Archive, commented:
“The Hadleigh & Thundersley Community Archive group was one of the original occupants of Hadleigh Old Fire Station (HOFS) back in 2011 when the building was re-opened as a community legacy project arising from the 2012 Olympics. The group’s volunteers have worked hard over the past twelve years to enhance the sense of community in Hadleigh through its website, local history publications, fairs, slideshows and other events. We could not have achieved this without our studio in HOFS and the Appliance Hall. The studio is used for meetings, interviews with local residents, digitisation projects, and storage of books, equipment and memorabilia. The loss of our studio and the loss of the Appliance Hall for our events would have a devastating impact on our activities. It is highly unlikely that we could find similar premises to continue our successful operation. (The fact that our studio is only metres from the Appliance Hall is a major bonus when it comes to hosting events.)
“Since it re-opened, HOFS has become the beating heart of the community in Hadleigh and we all know what happens when a heart stops beating! The Hadleigh & Thundersley Community Archive group together with all other users of HOFS need continuity to ensure that the benefits accruing from the HOFS legacy are not lost overnight on the 20th March. We need Essex County Council, as the owner of HOFS, to provide that continuity before any alternative arrangements for the building’s management can be forged.”
If you would like to show your support for HOFS, please sign the petition at: https://cmis.essex.gov.uk/essexcmis5/Petitions/tabid/106/ID/151/Save-Hadleigh-Old-Fire-Station.aspx?fbclid=IwAR2pYD55po3mNeIl-lBcKrWCaGfaqsRQITw8sLHoNPjliqOV3EdxKN1bAdM.