Strictly No Dancing!

leigh ballroomEastleigh Ballroom fans have been told to ‘Foxtrot Oscar’ by their landlords, Eastleigh Borough Council, who are evicting them from the Leigh Ballroom after 30 years of competitive dancing which had placed the former Leigh Road drill hall on the international dance map.

However the popular venue, home to current UK Professional Latin Dance Champions Alex and Lisa Ivanets, is sited directly opposite the council owned and subsidised ‘The Point’ Dance studios located in the former old Town Hall. The council decision not to renew the Leigh ballroom tenancy coincides with the completion of a £2.5 million refit of ‘The Point’.

This morning Lisa Ivanets was speaking from her dancewear shop ‘Spotlight’ on Passfield Avenue, on the implications for her dancewear business should the ballroom close as planned on January 10th without an alternative venue.

‘The Point is simply too expensive for us to hire’ explained Lisa “Without a regular venue then the Dance school may see a fall in numbers attending. Leigh Ballroom provides a service to the local community. The Young dancers we have trained have gone on to represent the country in International competition as finalists while senior folk have enjoyed the sociability of regular afternoon tea dances”

She also disclosed that to date, the council had not offered any alternative venue or discount on the use of the ‘Point’ facilities.
Ballroom Blitz
It has been reported that over £600,000 will be spent to convert the hall into a youth club – just a year after a purpose built youth centre on Nightingale Ave was bulldozed to make way for flats.
A recent Freedom of information request has also revealed that The Point costs nearly £1 million a year to run and is losing £0.5 Million a year. Nearly £300k a year is spent on management alone.

In total, including the recent refit, the point has cost a shocking £4 million in the last 3 years.

Meanwhile, supporters point out that the Leigh Ballroom has been a profitable business which has produced world class dancers without a single penny of Council Taxpayers money used to subsidise it.

A petition has been started which can be signed in person at the Ballroom during opening hours or online:

A petition has been started which can be signed in person at the Ballroom during opening hours or online:

Sign petition to save Ballroom here

There is also a facebook group located here.

  2 comments for “Strictly No Dancing!

  1. Margaret Raff
    January 13, 2010 at 9:30 am

    This seems another example of EBC deciding to prioritise the needs of young people over those of older ones. Ballroom dancing is a vitally important activity for the health and social well being of older people, in particular, but does not exclude youngsters either. Why can’t the council find and fund another location for a youth facility, there’s lots of development going on in Eastleigh so what is the planning gain supporting – why not a youth facility.

  2. January 17, 2010 at 4:30 am

    What shocks me is the obscene amounts of local tax payers money that is being thrown at Eastleigh Borough Council’s QANGO, The Point. We are told, buy the council, that this is in the name of ART. Do not be fooled Eastleigh. The Point does not promote ART or Support Local Artist’s. The Point is a dance venue first and foremost and clearly with the huge amount of our money that has been poured into this venue over the last three years the Council need to ensure that their investments is safe and unchallenged. Having an established and very popular Ballroom, which offers a wide range of dance styles, education and promotion of the sport, right on the door step of a multi million pound council funded Dance Hall, that is losing vast sums of our money year on year, is bad news for the council. This is not about giving the youth a place to go, this is about MONEY..!! An interesting fact that I have uncovered whilst looking into this story is the councillor that heads the committee that approved the 3 million pound expansion of The Point in Feb 2007 is Chris Thomas. The chairman of the local committee responsible for the Town Centre, which includes The Point is Chris Thomas. The Lib Dem councillor driving the plans to close the Leigh Ballroom and turn it into a youth centre is..?? Yes, you have guessed it, Chris Thomas… Call me a cynic !!

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