The chief executive of Anvil Arts said he will fight to save The Haymarket Theatre from closure.

Matthew Cleaver said he will do ‘everything in his power’ to protect the Wote Street arts hub from being shut down, when its lease expires next year.

The future of arts in Basingstoke is at risk, after the borough council voted to half its funding to Anvil Arts for the coming year.

Moving forward, Mr Cleaver says that the loss in funding will put jobs at risk and mean inevitably mean redundancies to a staff team which is already small”, as well as considering increasing booking fees and hire costs, and making “huge reductions” to the work they do in the community, particularly with schools and care homes, as well as the Musication Station in Festival Place.

“Everything that we provide will potentially have to be significantly altered.

“We don’t have a choice, with a cut of that scale being imposed so quickly,” he said.

“Particularly if you’re cutting work with schools, you’re cutting the future. You can’t charge [community] work like that at a commercial rate. It’s not right. It’s not what should be happening in our society.”

However, he pledged that the trust will be “doing everything we can” to save The Haymarket - which has been a particular point of concern given its historic role in the town - from having to close, as it’s the “perfect venue” for children’s theatre in particular.

“The Haymarket is such an important part of the organisation, we will be doing all we can to keep it open,” he said.

“We really want to hang onto that element of the programme because Basingstoke is quite a young town really and there’s big demand for that.”