Howden Park faces closure

May 6 2023 | By More

Protest as “underused” West Lothian venue under threat

The Howden Park Centre in Livingston could be fully closed as early as 31 August 2023, if a report from West Lothian Leisure is agreed by the West Lothian Council at its meeting on Tuesday, 9 May 2023.

Howden Park is one of four sites run by the arms length charity which its board of directors is seeking to close.

Howden Park Centre

A protest group, Hands off Howden Park, has been formed, with a petition gaining over 7,500 signatures at the time of writing and plans for a protest at the West Lothian Council meeting on Tuesday.

“Howden Park Centre is more than a building,” says the introduction to the petition. “Howden Park is a community, that offers friendships, companionship, support and inclusiveness.”

The WLL board ratified the move this week “to address the £1.75m shortfall left following the passing of the West Lothian Council budgets in March”.

Ben Lamb, Chief Executive of WLL said: “Howden Park Centre is a fantastic community facility, but unfortunately it is underused and has been operating at a deficit for many years, despite all efforts to reduce costs.

“The level of investment required to transform the facility into a thriving community theatre and arts centre is unfortunately no longer in our gift.”

Howden Park is home to the Firefly Arts youth performing company and is where the Livingston Players and other local amateur companies and schools perform. It is also used by the Scottish Community Drama Association to hold its one-act festivals.

Hands Off Howden Park campaign logo

The theatre is an important part of the Scottish touring circuit for small and medium scale theatre, as well as a regular stopping off point for big names on the comedy circuit. It recently took its pantomime in-house to great critical acclaim.

The former stable block of the Howden Park house was converted and opened as Howden Park Centre in 1972. In 2009 an extensive refurbishment to the venue, around the 296 seat theatre, modernised its facilities, creating meeting rooms, a bistro cafe and disabled access throughout.

The building was taken over by WWL, which operates as Xcite, in 2017.

Beside the theatre, Howden Park Centre is an art gallery and rehearsal space. Its various multi-purpose spaces can be used for less formal seminars, breakout sessions and are available for hire for community and social events. The Centre boasts a notable meeting room with floor to ceiling glass walls overlooking the park.


Howden Park Centre:

Hands off Howden Park Facebook page: @HandsOffHowdenPark

Hands Off Howden Park Twitter: @HandsoffHPC

The Save Howden Park Centre petition is here.


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  1. Marion says:

    How much is the council trip to texts costing?