Report of the Executive Director, Environment Department.
Members received a report of the Executive Director, Environment, providing an update on Keats House for 2021/22 and 2022/23 and providing the proposals for the front boundary of 10 Keats Grove.
Paul Vick of Paul Vick Architects, the firm working on the proposals for the front boundary of 10 Keats Grove, was in attendance and provided Members with a presentation on the proposals.
A Member raised the recent news that Keats had been removed from the national curriculum, and asked what impact this might have on rebuilding audiences for Keats House. Officers replied that Keats House retained substantial opportunities to develop audiences through working with schools.
In response to a question from a Member, Officers confirmed that while Keats House did not have a dedicated social media officer, the Principal Curator oversaw a team effort in developing the social media output and worked closely with the City of London Corporation comms team. The Member suggested that officers look at collaborating with content creators on platforms such as TikTok to reach a wider and more diverse audience.
A Member asked what the impact of proposed work on the front boundary of 10 Keats Grove would be on the biodiversity of the garden. Officers replied that the City Corporation has a dedicated team to manage gardens and biodiversity, who would be involved to ensure the correct protections are being made.
A Member asked if there was a target period to return to pre-pandemic opening times. Officers said that there was still uncertainty in the sector around audience responses to the coronavirus situation, and to what the situation might be in autumn and winter. They said that the leisure industry is predicting that it will take two-to-three years for the sector to recover. Keats House was also carrying staff vacancies which restricted what it could do in terms of opening hours. The Chair requested that the Committee be kept updated on opening hours.
A Member said that the Principal Curator had been heroic in his efforts at keeping Keats House functioning.