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Church Conservation Trust ‘welcomes talks’ over naming of Sudbury Arts Centre

A national body says it would welcome talks over the naming of an arts centre and any concerns about how it is run.

The Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) says it was disappointed that people had not contacted it directly over issues raised at a recent Sudbury Town Council meeting.

Last week, town councillors resolved to write to the CTT after receiving a number of complaints over the naming of the arts centre and other concerns.

Sudbury Arts Centre: Picture: Mecha Morton
Sudbury Arts Centre: Picture: Mecha Morton

The CCT renamed St Peter’s on Market Hill as Sudbury Arts Centre following a multi-million-pound renovation project.

The centre opened in November.

However, at last week’s town council meeting, councillors heard the change of name had caused concern among some users and townsfolk, who argued it had “caused confusion” and failed to recognise the building’s heritage.

Councillors decided to write to the conservation trust suggesting the name ‘St Peter’s Arts Centre, Sudbury’, and to highlight a perceived lack of consultation over the change.

The council also agreed to convey that some users felt that high fees were proving prohibitive to local groups, issues over the use of the railings around the building for posters for local events, and that the Friends of St Peter’s felt “pushed out”, despite a £135,000 investment in the renovation costs.

The council called for regular meetings 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.

In response, a spokesman for the CCT said: “Since reopening in November, we have welcomed more than 11,000 visitors to Sudbury Arts Centre.

“However, we are disappointed that some people are unhappy with the name change and other matters and have felt unable to approach us directly about this.

“We consulted widely throughout the project and continue to work with The Bridge and the local community to make the site a success.

“We would welcome further conversations directly with anyone who has concerns.”

Sudbury mayor Jan Osborne told the town council meeting: “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 it to be St Peter’s.”

The Bridge Project declined to comment on the debate.