TAUNTON'S Brewhouse Theatre will continue to receive an annual council grant of £132,000, it has been announced today (Monday).

Somerset West and Taunton Council has confirmed it will continue to fund the yearly subsidy, as well as paying to maintain the building.

But the authority has declined "at this early stage" to agree to a Brewhouse request for an additional £1.2million over five years.

It says a potential redevelopment of the current theatre would cost tens of millions of council taxpayers' cash at a time when the authority is looking into potentially developing a venue at Firepool.

Council portfolio holder for culture, Cllr Benet Allen, said: "Having a theatre and performance space in the centre of Taunton is important. We’ve made sure the Brewhouse will continue to get the same level of funding as it does it now.

"The theatre has asked for an additional £1.2million over five years, but at this time a request for such a large sum can only be approved after we’ve looked at the needs of the community right across the council area.

"With the opportunity for development of a venue on Firepool, it’s only right that we engage with all our residents to ensure that the Brewhouse is the right investment for years to come.

"No-one can question our commitment to the arts, but with so many competing financial priorities we are having to make a number of tough decisions.

"To redevelop the current site would cost council taxpayers tens of millions of pounds on top of the subsidy.

"While we wouldn’t rule anything out at this early stage, it’s important people understand the size of the sums involved and why decisions like this need time and careful consideration.

"We have a clear timetable and plan for consultation starting in November so we can arrive at the best solution for all involved."

READ MORE: 'Back the Brewhouse' - or face losing it, say theatre chiefs

Arts supporters are planning to hand over a petition with thousands of signatures backing My Theatre Matters ahead of SWT's full council meeting tomorrow (Tuesday).

The campaign comes after SWT announced it was putting on hold plans to convert the Brewhouse into a 750-seat theatre, 180-seat student theatre, cinema and art gallery.