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Town councillors to suggest name change for Sudbury Arts Centre, on Market Hill, to include St Peter’s

Town councillors are to write to a conservation trust following complaints over the naming of an arts centre.

The Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) renamed St Peter’s on Market Hill as Sudbury Arts Centre following a multi-million-pound renovation project. The arts centre opened in November.

The rebrand was designed to make the Grade I-listed site the “the go-to venue for events, workshops, heritage and trying new things”.

The revamped arts centre opened after a £2.5 million renovation in November.
The revamped arts centre opened after a £2.5 million renovation in November.

However, the change has caused consternation amongst townsfolk, who say it causes confusion and also fails to recognise the building’s heritage.

At a Sudbury Town Council leisure and environment committee on Tuesday, councillors resolved to write to the conservation trust suggesting the name: ‘St Peter’s Arts Centre, Sudbury’.

They also intend to highlight a lack of consultation over the name, point out that high fees are proving prohibitive to local groups wanting to use the venue, and issues over the use of the railings around the building for posters to advertise events.

They will call for regular meeting between the CTT, the Bridge Project, which runs the venue on the trust’s behalf, the Friends of St Peter’s and the town council in order to agree its future direction.

Hilary Spivey, chairman of the Friends of St Peters, said at the meeting: “The Bridge Project pushed the idea that it should be called Sudbury Arts Centre. But really it should be for the townsfolk to decide the name.

“The fee for hiring the venue is also very expensive. From our point of view, having contributed over £135,000 for the renovation, our understanding was that it would continue as a community venue, so that existing users could continue to use it, along with new users.

“But, at the moment, the level of fees make it extremely difficult for the local community users to continue to use the building, which is a great shame.”

She also said that some posters put up by local groups had been taken down by the arts centre.

She said: “We need an agreed policy on this. Most of the marketing by the arts centre is done digitally, which is fine. But not everyone uses social media.

“There should be as many posters as possible saying what is going on in the building, otherwise it looks very dull.”

Councillor Jan Osborne, said: “I have been getting emails [about the name change] and you will see that the majority of the people in the town want to it to be retained as St Peter’s. They can add arts centre – but they want to to be St Peter’s.

“I am hoping the town council will also raise concerns about The Friends of at St Peters feeling they have been pushed to one side because they seem to be having no say now in the running of that facility at all.”