TWO MPs have offered their support to Caldicot Musical Theatre Society’s campaign to stay at its home in the town’s Castlegate business park.

Jessica Morden met the society’s members last week to hear their

concerns about the future of their theatre


Monmouthshire County Council (MCC) bought the business park in October, and this year told the society it would be increasing rental fees from around £12,000 to more than £36,000 – a sum the society cannot afford.

Unless other arrangements can be made, the society will be evicted from Castlegate at the end of the year.

Following her meeting with its members, Ms Morden called the society “an asset to the community” which had created “an impressive performance space from scratch”.

“There was a clear message from all involved that they want the current uncertainty around their future to be resolved as quickly as possible,” the MP said. “The group emphasised to me how important the musical theatre society is as a community service – particularly for youngsters and older people – and the way in which it is helping to broaden participation in the arts locally.”


Ms Morden contacted MCC’s chief executive, Paul Matthews, asking him to visit the society and discuss with members how they could be supported, and urged MCC to “step in, reconsider and save this much loved local resource”.

In response, Mr Matthews said groups like the theatre society “are the life-blood of a county like Monmouthshire, and I have nothing but admiration for volunteers who put themselves out to help others”, but reiterated MCC’s stance that Castlegate was bought to be a business park, not a recreational facility.

“It just would not be appropriate for the council to have preferential terms with one tenant in comparison with another,” Mr Matthews said. “This has been clearly explained to [the society].

“The ‘rent hike’ as I have seen it described is actually a fair allocation of running costs of the building proportionately applied to the area occupied by [the society].”

The society argues that it is run on a shoestring, and its members said the higher rents would be unaffordable.

Mr Matthews said MCC had also offered to help the society with a relocation.

The society has also contacted Monmouth MP David Davies, who has written to MCC to find out “what support can be made available to ensure the group is able to continue serving the local community”.

The society has also set up a petition in support of its campaign, with more than 1,600 signatories as of August 13.