FIGURES from Petersfield’s am-dram community feel they’ve been left in the dark over plans to replace a lighting rig at Festival Hall.

Simon Auty pleaded with town councillors last Monday to delay the £260,000 project until plans for the venue’s multi-million pound revamp are finalised.

He also called on PTC to postpone or drop its plans to increase the size of the council chamber, saying that a soon-to-be-vacant upstairs hall would be more suitable for them and taxpayers.

“It’s not sensible to bring these projects forward – they should be done at the same time as the other renovations in Festival Hall,” said Mr Auty, whose A-Team are considered the gospel on audio and visual matters at the hall.

Mr Auty and his counterparts – which included Norman Stewart and John Whittaker of the Lion & Unicorn and Winton Players, respectively – also argued the rigging has been chosen without their technical input.

Members of the council’s Public Halls Committee backed plans in October to spend £250,000 on replacement rigging amid concerns about its quality and safety.

The cost has risen by £10,000 as the supporting structure needs strengthening to support the rigging’s weight.

Committee chairman, Cllr Chris Paige, said after the meeting that the new rigging will be permanent and could be installed ahead of the hall’s expected £20million-plus revamp.

Councillors are keen on a March 2025 start date – providing it doesn’t coincide with the Petersfield Musical Festival – while a 12-week project to expand the council chamber is set to begin on May 20.