Gallery costs scrutinised

A Honiton Town Councillor has raised concerns over the running costs of the Thelma Hulbert Gallery.

A publicly-funded art gallery in Honiton is “a great hole in the ground” in terms of costs.

That is the view of a senior local councillor, who last week urged town and district authorities to take note of the costs involved in running the Thelma Hulbert Gallery.

Town and district councillor Peter Halse, who is chairman of East Devon District Council, raised concerns about the gallery’s running costs at a meeting of Honiton Town Council last week and said the issue must be addressed.

He said: “Far from being a great building, it is a great hole in the ground as far as finances are concerned. It costs a lot of money.

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“We have got to face it, organisations and bodies like this have got to be more self-supporting than they have been in the past.

“This is something we will need to address.”

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The district council, which runs the gallery, is currently discussing ways in which it can improve the attraction, located in a listed mansion house in Dowell Street.

Former mayor and honorary alderman Councillor Vivienne Ash defended the gallery and the work it carries out, especially with young people and added: “The work the Thelma Hulbert Gallery does with young people is absolutely phenomenal.

“Any way we can support them we would want to do that.”

District councillor John O’Leary, East Devon’s culture champion, said: “We are looking at ways of improving the gallery- it is an ongoing issue.

“We need to get more people through the doors – it is as simple as that.”

He told the meeting that reports were being prepared on the gallery which would look at all the possible improvements.

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