A FORMER borough councillor used an awards acceptance speech to sing the praises of an award-winning Basingstoke concert venue and urged members to keep supporting it financially.
Councillor Keith Chapman, below, who stood down as a Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council earlier this year after 32 years of service, received a long-service certificate and a decanter at the full council meeting last Thursday.
But rather than dwell on his years on the borough council, 70-year-old Cllr Chapman urged his former colleagues to keep supporting The Anvil, something he helped to bring to the town in 1994.
Cllr Chapman, who is executive member for culture and recreation at Hampshire County Council, told councillors: “I just want you to bear in mind, when you think about allocation of money, what a good investment it has been. Do not be overly negative about an asset that’s been driving this borough forward.”
Earlier this year, the borough council cut its funding for The Anvil Trust, which runs The Anvil and The Haymarket theatres, from £1.2million to £1.1m.
Cllr Chapman reminded councillors that The Anvil generates £6.2m per year to the economy in Basingstoke, and that visitors and performers spend money shopping in Festival Place.
He told the meeting the £300m shopping centre would not have been built if it wasn’t for The Anvil, right, and said the concert hall now has a Europe-wide reputation for its quality.
He said: “Every single day, Basingstoke is on the radio with people saying how good a place (The Anvil) is.
“I’m sorry to go on about it but I thought this was an opportunity to tell you the facts and figures of the thing that you built as councillors all those years ago.”
Former Liberal Democrat councillor Doris Jones, 70, who represented Brookvale and Kings Furlong until this year’s election, was also awarded a long-service certificate for her 10 years of service.
It was accepted on her behalf by Liberal Democrat Cllr John Shaw. She told The Gazette: “I really enjoyed all the time I was a borough councillor and I felt that as I was born and bred in Basingstoke, I was putting something back into the community.”