Watersmeet to re-open
(19th July 2005)
Three Rivers' Executive Committee last night agreed to re-open Watersmeet as a local community hall, available for hire for local events, entertainment and theatrical productions in 2006.
The re-launch will start with a pantomime, Snow White, to be presented by Paul Holman Associates, who have been responsible for all the very popular pantomimes in recent years.
Three Rivers' Portfolio Holder for leisure and community, Chris Whately Smith, said:
"This exciting project will revive the pantomime to help re-launch the Watersmeet venue. The panto has been very popular in the past few years and we are delighted to welcome bookings from schools and local groups for the Christmas period very shortly."
The bid by Rickmansworth Centre Trust Limited (RTCL) to take over the venue was not accepted by the District Council. Meetings began in January but the Trust's financial requirements, which were initially accommodated in the budget, have risen steeply since then.
The Trust has asked for a very large sum and insists that it should be provided 'up front'. The District Council has decided that some of the plans are too high risk and too speculative to justify such a large commitment of public money right at the start. The District Council suggested that a phased approach, starting small and building on success would be appropriate, but the Trust has rejected this.
Three Rivers District Council Leader, Ann Shaw, said:
"Three Rivers has recognised the hard work and enthusiasm RTCL have demonstrated. But the Watersmeet Trust Limited also worked very hard and were very enthusiastic. However, it was not enough to make a success of the Trust. The District Council cannot put so much public money at risk.
"We believe the pantomime and the availability of the building for entertainment will be welcomed by local people. The volunteers who put so much effort into Watersmeet will still be a vital ingredient and we hope that members of both Trusts will continue to be involved. We also encourage anyone who has ideas and wants to be involved to come forward."
Paul Holman, the producer of the pantomime, said:
"We are delighted to be working in partnership with Three Rivers District Council as Watersmeet has always been a very special venue to us. Our previous six seasons at Watersmeet have been very happy and we were very disappointed to hear of its closure at the end of last season. We have always tried to produce something special at Watersmeet and this year will be no exception as we will be presenting everybody's favourite pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."