Chairman: why we need new chairs
Replacement of chairs at Budleigh Salterton Public Hall. I am writing in response to the rather alarming headlines in the October 28 Budleigh edition of your paper.
It is unfortunate that you did not deem fit to publish the press release I sent to you explaining the reasoning behind the decision to buy the chairs. It is also very unfortunate that your reporter left the council meeting before this item was discussed.
She had been provided with the agenda and the papers from the Public Hall Committee, setting out the costs. The council had anticipated their decision might well be questioned and has been totally open and agreed the issue of the press release which you ignored.
I, with other councillors, had at first not been inclined to vote for the replacement of the chairs, which was first mooted by the committee well over a year ago, but had been persuaded by the arguments put forward.
These arguments were put at the meeting of the council, which decided by a majority of 10-2 to buy the chairs. Again, had your reporter remained she would have been able to write a balanced piece covering the arguments, instead of the emotive headline-grabbing item that appeared.
The old chairs are over 10 years old and are very worn and we have received numerous complaints about (a) the lack of comfort they afford and (b) their weight.
The public hall is a well-valued resource and has been used for theatrical and musical performances and presentations by internationally acclaimed authors in connection with the literary festival and, of course, regular use by the film society.
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All of these activities mean that audiences are sitting for considerable periods on the chairs and comfort is very important. I have been told that some people have left the film society due to the inadequate seating.
In addition to these auditorium type activities, the Public Hall is used by the Lions Club, the Carnival Club and other charitable organisations to hold events to raise funds for local charities.
Having a comfortable, well-equipped and welcoming venue is vital to the efforts of these organisations.
By providing that environment, the town council, through the Public Hall, which, incidentally, is owned by the people of Budleigh Salterton, is able to make a valuable contribution to the overall benefit of the whole community.
The last chairs have become worn out, the new ones should last over 10 years. Had it not been for the reluctance of me and some other councillors, the chairs would have probably been bought before the present gloomy financial situation.