Roe Valley Arts Centre row: Hundreds sign petition against name change

The petition by Gerry Mullan to stop the name change.
The petition by Gerry Mullan to stop the name change.

SDLP councillor Gerry Mullan has started a petition against a move to rename the award-winning Roe Valley Arts & Cultural Centre in Limavady.

The Limavady man started the petition after unionists on Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council voted in favour of a motion brought by Ulster Unionist councillor Aaron Callan to rename the facility to The Alexander Memorial Arts Centre.

SDLP Colr. Gerry Mullan.

SDLP Colr. Gerry Mullan.

Councillors have been told the move would cost at least £12,000, just to change signage alone, and would require several consultations.

The petition, started on Friday night, is called ‘Save the Roe Valley arts and cultural centre’.

Colr Mullan said the centre’s reputation as a cultural venue of regional significance is now well established, and is a neutral title which describes the geographical area of location as well as its primary function - as an arts centre.

“The current name is all-inclusive and inoffensive,” states Colr. Mullan. “The proposed new name undermines the Arts Centre’s professional standing and will lead to programming difficulties, limiting what staff can offer at the centre, leading to decrease of quality partnership projects, decrease of quality events and therefore decrease of customer and visitor numbers.

“The proposed new name is not neutral, referring to an individual of local heritage interest and the former name of the ‘Old Town Hall’ and will therefore prove challenging to the centre’s existent audience development and community engagement strategies. Changing the name of the venue has severe cost implications at a time of extremely pressured budgets with no additional monies. To change the signage alone could cost in the region of £15,000 with the potential for further added costs if an equality impact assessment should be required or if legal challenges should arise. Do your bit to save our arts centre and stop the waste of rate payers money. Please sign and share this petition with everyhtime one on your social media interfaces and help protect OUR common shared space.”

Hundreds have so far signed the petition.

Comments so far include: “Its an atrocious waste of money and which destroys years of expensive (and successful) marketing.”

One man stated: “Our ‘old’ town hall was never known as ‘The Alexander Memorial Hall’.. just known as The Town Hall. The current name is PERFECT so no need to WASTE money? By all means name a room inside....but rebranding would be ridiculous!”

See the petition here:

Read more on this story, which was first reported by the ‘Journal’ following the decision taken on Tuesday, here: