Plans for Fareham’s new arts and entertainment venue, Fareham Live, have been paused for a period of six months, meaning it will now open in 2023.  The decision was taken by the Executive at last night’s meeting.

The new venue is the Council’s highest cost capital project to date and involves upfront costs of around £12 million which will be recouped over a number of years.  However, the business plan for the new venue, which sets out a time frame for recovering those costs, was developed before the arrival of Covid-19.  Pausing the project will enable the Council to understand any long-term financial implications as a result of the pandemic and, if necessary, revise the business plan accordingly.

Cllr Sue Bell, Executive Member for Leisure and Community, said: ‘The decision to pause the project has been taken amidst a wave of uncertainty around the arts and entertainment industry that has had an impact on theatres and their operators across the country.  As a result, it would be reckless for us to plough on without considering the impact of Covid-19.  That said, I would like to reassure everyone that the Council remains absolutely committed to providing a superb new venue for Fareham’s residents and the wider community.”

Cllr Seán Woodward, Leader of Fareham Borough Council, said: ‘Although we are keen to bring forward this exciting new venue for Fareham, I believe that taking a few extra months to understand all the implications of Covid-19 for our new venue is the right thing to do.  We are at a point where the next stage is to start on construction so, as soon as we are ready, we can go out to tender and get on track for a grand opening in 2023.’