AS secretary of Rayleigh Brass, I read with great interest your article about the Mill Arts and Events Centre in the Echo on November 24.

The announcement that it is intended that the centre will not reopen post-lockdown I’m sure will have come as a huge shock to all its users, some of whom have used the “Mill” for several decades.

This shock is compounded by the total lack of consultation offered to both the public and users of the Mill and frankly the belief that Rochford District Council are using the Covid pandemic as an opportunity to press forward with plans without consultation.

The redevelopment of the Mill site, to include housing and office space “with space retained for council and community uses” is terribly vague and suggests the loss of a facility focused on the community.

If indeed the redevelopment is as “exciting” as the council describes it, I’d have thought that the council would be anxious to share plans with us all.

It's curious that details such as performance space, audience capacity etc are kept shrouded in secrecy. The trouble is that, often, such multi-purpose facilities result in a compromise for all.

I can’t help but smile at the council’s observation that “in recent months, there has been a lack of demand due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“Therefore, the cost to operate these buildings in the current climate is unsustainable".

I’m sure that many local businesses forced to stop trading over the past six months or so could only heartily agree! Hardly justification to mothball, then presumably demolish the existing building.

We are hopefully emerging from under the shadow of Covid-19 and surely such centrally located facilities should be treasured? If ever we need to encourage community spirit, it is now!

Like many groups who rely on this vital facility, we would like to participate in a campaign to save the Mill Arts and Events Centre and pressure Rochford District Council to consult its residents and share their plans for its future. Interested parties can contact us via our Facebook page.

The Mill could be a real jewel in the crown and I truly hope that its current users and the Rayleigh community are actually given the chance to state its worth before irreversible decisions are made.


Secretary, Rayleigh Brass


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