A LEOMINSTER venue once described as the town’s “best kept secret”has closed its doors.

The directors of the Lion Ballroom revealed in a statement this week that, “with great sadness”, a decision had been made to dissolve the charity.

Restored and re-opened as a grand ballroom in 1997, has been a well-known arts venue in the town for years.

It was set up as a platform for local arts and cultural organisations to work together in the town.

The statement read: “Considerable efforts have been made to increase the income but reluctantly the directors have concluded it is not viable to continue.

“The directors have been advised that to continue could be prejudicial to creditors and in accordance with their legal obligations are arranging for all debts to be settled in full.

“Any remaining monies will be distributed among local charities to reflect the objects of the Lion Ballroom Company.

“The directors wish to thank all the supporters of the Lion Ballroom who have enabled it to enhance the lives of all who have used the facility.”

Along with the closure of the venue, Leominster loses a treasured Steinway piano, labelled by Leominster- based pianist Andrew Morris as “the best in Herefordshire”.

It was bought by lottery funding in 1997, and venue supporters believe they have traced the piano to a company in Oxfordshire.

Mr Morris, who played the piano at the opening concert in 1997 and recently celebrated his 60th birthday there by playing Bach’s Goldberg Variations, said: “I am devastated by the loss of the ballroom and the Steinway piano. This is all so unnecessary.

“There were so many people in and around Leominster over the past months who wanted to help.”

The Hintons, owners of the venue, have told supporters they hope it will be taken over by a tenant who will keep the asset open to the public.