Maltings defended

PUBLISHED: 10:52 29 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:36 06 May 2010

SIR – Terry Price is quite correct to defend the integrity of the Abbey Theatre as a vital St Albans institution (Herts Advertiser, October 15). I regret that my wryly-expressed and personal preference for professional theatre over amateur looked like

SIR - Terry Price is quite correct to defend the integrity of the Abbey Theatre as a vital St Albans institution (Herts Advertiser, October 15).

I regret that my wryly-expressed and personal preference for 'professional' theatre over 'amateur' looked like a cheap shot aimed specifically at that venue and its performers (among whom I have had friends). No ill will was intended, and I should like to apologise unreservedly to both Mr Price and the Abbey Theatre itself for any perceived slight. Here's to another 75 years!

May I also express my sincerest wish that Trestle and the Arena (amongst whom I also have friends!) should enjoy successful seasons for many years to come. Their continued existence as vital, but let us be clear, very distinct, cultural pillars of St Albans's creative and artistic community should be actively nurtured and cherished by those who know and enjoy them.

However, I still feel that the Maltings Arts Theatre's termination or diminution as a venue for professional touring theatre ought not to be justified by the presence of the spaces listed above.

I feel certain that, as a fellow advocate and practitioner of the performing arts, Mr Price will concur with this sentiment.

I would also like to thank the many citizens of St Albans - and industry professionals - that have contacted me with overwhelming support for the Maltings Arts Theatre since this debate began. Oh, and a round of applause for the Herts Advertiser for refusing to be bullied on this issue.

E TOWNEND JONES

Alma Road, St Albans

SIR - Firstly let me say how pleased I was to see that, finally, the new Westminster Lodge swimming pool and leisure centre has been approved. St Albans is a city that needs a first-class leisure facility and this is absolutely the best choice.

As a volunteer, who works at the current swimming pool, I have been watching with interest the problems involved with trying to organise a replacement for the current ageing pool. Every time a plan has been put forward, the minority have managed to find a way of stopping it, and the pool and complex continues to get older.

There will always be some disruption caused by any new scheme, but if the minority succeed in stopping the work going ahead this time, how will this benefit all those desperate to see a first-class leisure facility in St Albans? The government frequently complains about the effects on society of childhood obesity, so in the case of a brand new swimming pool and sports complex, this will only encourage children to exercise more and that can only be a good thing.

I appreciate this is a simplified argument and that I am not directly answering the issues put forward by the minority groups that oppose the scheme, but is stopping this fantastic sports complex going ahead, really the right way forward for St Albans?

RICHARD LEES

St Albans

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