An online petition has been launched to help preserve the future of New Mills Arts Theatre.
Campaigners have started the petition in a bid to extend a conservation area to include the facility in Jodrell Street –guaranteeing protection and possible future funding.
The petition – which is addressed to High Peak Borough Council (HPBC), Derbyshire County Council and New Mills Town Council – had been signed by almost 1,300 people as the Buxton Advertiser went to press.
However, HPBC said it is unlikely to review the New Mills Conservation Area in the immediate future.
The petition states: “We have been unsuccessful in applications to both the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Arts Council England.
“One of the big problems is that we are not in a conservation area which make our theatre less attractive for funding.
“The conservation area runs down the front of the theatre – Jodrell Street – and the side of the theatre – Wood Street – but the theatre misses out.
“We want the council to increase the conservation area to protect the theatre and the heritage of performing arts in the town as a whole.
“We’d also like assistance with current grants and funding streams where applicable.
“The theatre is run as a registered charity and is manned solely by volunteers providing a fantastic resource for the whole community.”
One of the comments left on the petition reads: “New Mills Arts Theatre is a hidden gem and a valuable asset to the town.
“It has an important role to play in further increasing New Mills’ reputation as a tourist destination and the potential for jobs that that brings.”
A HPBC spokesman said: “We are responsible for designating or extending conservation area boundaries.
“The New Mills Conservation Area was reviewed in 2008 and is therefore unlikely to be a priority for review in the immediate future.
“The council has 32 conservation areas and a number of these have not been subject to a full appraisal.
“The process for reviewing conservation boundaries includes a period of public consultation so, should the council decide to review the New Mills boundary, it could take up to six months to finalise.”
New Mills Arts Theatre opened in 1911.
The much-loved theatre provides live entertainment on a regular basis and is the home of New Mills operatic society.
Sign the petition at http://bit.ly/1RzYr6x