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Petition launched to save popular community building in Kingsclere

ALMOST 1,000 people have signed a petition to save the home of a popular dance school in Kingsclere.

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has put 24 Swan Street – a Grade-II listed building and the home of JLD School of Dance for around three decades – on the market for £750,000 after deciding the building wasn’t financially viable to keep.

If sold to developers, it could force the dance school – which has more than 200 pupils – to close due to a lack of alternative sites.

24 Swan Street, Kingsclere ..Ref: 32-1321. (50076594)
24 Swan Street, Kingsclere ..Ref: 32-1321. (50076594)

A petition was launched earlier this month by the Kingsclere Performing Arts College (KPAC) – a sixth form college which also operates out of the building – to keep the building in its current use as a community hub, giving a home to local organisations like the dance school, Baughurst Blades and Eira’s Equestrian Supplies.

More than 930 people have now signed the petition, which supports the KPAC’s bid to form a charity in order to “buy, maintain and improve 24 Swan Street so that local residents, businesses, young people and performing arts can continue to flourish in our beautiful village”.

It adds: “Stop Basingstoke and Deane selling 24 Swan Street to developers and let any potential developers know loud and clear that they are not welcome here.”

To sign the petition, visit https://bit.ly/3nHQXpU

Writing in the Newbury Weekly News in support of the petition, Kerry Morrow – a Liberal Democrat candidate for the Tadley North, Baughurst and Kingsclere ward in May’s borough council elections – said he chose “dancers over developers”.

He said: “The council have decided to sell, but we can still fight for the 24 Swan Street that we want.

“As a local campaigner, I believe 24 Swan Street is an asset of community value and if managed correctly could become an activity hub for the young in the area.

“The future of the building should be secured for generations to come, so young and old can enjoy dancing, taekwondo, yoga and other activities.

“Covid and cuts to services have left people isolated – we need youth clubs, we need dance schools, we need local businesses, we need 24 Swan Street.

“Let’s put a stop to losing our much-needed community assets.”

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