A government minister says the closure of an arts centre would "leave a hole in the heart of the community”.

Invited by Harrow East MP Bob Blackman and Pinner MP Nick Hurd, minister for culture Ed Vaizey visited Harrow Arts Centre in Uxbridge Road, Hatch End, this afternoon.

Service manager for arts and heritage Sandra Bruce-Gordon led MPs, councillors and members of the community on a walking tour of centre – including an arts and crafts building, dance studio and theatre.

Users and staff told Mr Vaizey how well-used the facilities are and spoke about the history and architecture of the building.

The centre’s future was placed in doubt in September, after the council’s Labour administration announced the possibility of closing the centre to help make cuts of £25million in its next budget.

However after almost 12,000 signatures from two separate petitions were collected, the council promised to keep it open and prepare a fresh business plan.

Mr Vaizey said: “I am delighted to have visited the Arts Centre with Bob Blackman and Nick Hurd today.

“It’s obviously a thriving centre for the community and I hope the council will continue to work with the community who have amazing plans to develop the centre and breathe life back into it.

“It would leave a big hole in the heart of the community if it went.”

In the meeting in November, Cllr Jean Lammiman called for the council to work with campaigners to preserve it for the future.

Councillors unanimously agreed that any business plan would be examined by the council's scrutiny committee.

Mr Blackman said: “It is really good news that the community has come together in this way to preserve something that is well used and well worth keeping.

“We will have a long term plan to ensure that this centre will be saved.”

Campaigners and councillors say they will continue to work towards a solution to keep the well-loved centre running.

Conservative group leader Councillor Susan Hall said: “It is so important that we continue to fight to save this facility.

“When I spoke to a doctor who works here about it he was horrified, as so many elderly people use it.

“It’s not just for medical purposes, but they can join social groups and classes – as can people from all ages and backgrounds.”