Every week I am reading about how upset Thornbury residents are at the number of empty shops and the generally run-down appearance of the town centre. I also remember Thornbury as it was back in the 70s and it is depressing to see it now, and it is certainly much more difficult to do all of ones shopping locally than it used to be.

I also notice each week that ACT: Arts and Community in Thornbury are busy trying to raise several million pounds to build us a wonderful new arts complex with large theatre and rehearsal facilities. I can't help wondering who is going to pay the running costs of this centre if it materialises and what is going to happen to all the other under-used halls in Thornbury.

The Armstrong Hall Complex has been our main venue for many years and wouldn't it be a better idea for ACT to put their efforts into co-operating in modernising and possibly rebuilding that? Also I wonder how ACT will fill a large theatre profitably when it is difficult for the Thornbury Arts Festival to fill seats for professional performances for even one week a year in the Armstrong Hall.

What is the point of trying to open a new arts venue when Thornbury would then have the Armstrong Hall standing unused adding to the already long list of empty premises in the town centre? Surely the would-be thespians working for ACT can put their efforts into something realistic and really beneficial for Thornbury.

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