NO promises can be made about the future of the Artrix Arts Centre building, insist council chiefs - but they admit they have been 'blown away' by the emotions raised by its closure.

The Advertiser reported earlier this week that the Artrix, Bromsgrove's premier theatre and arts centre, had been forced to close permanently due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The news prompted an outcry from arts lovers, theatregoers and performers - leading the local Liberal Democrat group to call on Bromsgrove District Council to save the cherished 'community asset'.

However, the council, which leases the Slideslow Drive building to the charity, says it cannot legally take over the Artrix.

Read more: Artrix forced to shut for good by coronavirus pandemic

And it added that, having already pumped £1.3million into the Artrix since 2005, any phoenix venue rising from the ashes must be 'commercially viable'.

Council Leader Karen May said: “In such a short time since the news that the Artrix has gone into insolvency and subsequently had to close its doors, I have been blown away, but not surprised, by the support from our community and my council colleagues, for this facility.

“As part of the insolvency process the lease, in the short-term will revert back to us as landlord but it’s important to understand that we can’t legally take over the ‘Artrix’ as the charity is insolvent and no longer exists.

"The insolvency practitioner will now have to realise the assets of the Artrix to ensure the creditors are paid.

“We will use this time wisely and with immediate effect will be exploring all the possible options with senior officers from our legal and finance teams and partners to endeavour to secure the future of this building but we need to make sure any proposal, we put on the table in the future benefits our tax-payers and is commercially viable.

"To invest our residents’ money, into something which isn’t, would be frivolous.

“From 2005 this Council, as part of its agreed phased grant reduction with the Artrix, has invested £1.3m in the facility and although the funding reduced from £120k to £60k in 2015/16 with the final payment of £60k in 2017/18, we would have expected the Artrix to be in a more secure financial position by then which is why the funding sliding scale was put forward and accepted.

“In the meantime I want to reassure residents and visitors that arts provision will continue across the District.”

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A statement from Artrix director Angela Galvin, announcing the Artrix's closure, said she believed that an arts centre in Bromsgrove 'will rise again'.

Those sentiments were echoed by Siobhan Hughes, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Bromsgrove Central, the ward that houses the venue.

She said: "As a former student at North Bromsgrove High School, I had the privilege of using the Artrix many times for various concerts and performances of musicals every year.

“It would be a great shame to lose one of the best assets that Bromsgrove has to offer and as a council I believe we should be doing something to safeguard it for future generations."