A campaign to save the Harrow Arts Centre and transform it into a "South Bank for north London" has been launched after the council proposed cutting its annual subsidy.

The plans to axe the £500,000 of yearly funding Harrow Council gives the project, which has operated on the site of the Grade II listed Elliott Hall since 1989, means the centre faces closure if new management cannot be found by April.

Campaigners to save the centre have developed a business plan with charity Cultura London that includes building an independent cinema alongside the 100-year-old Elliott Hall to screen new, classic, live event, foreign language and arthouse films and provide the income to sustain Harrow Arts Centre into the future.

Their vision also includes a new theatre, restaurant, bar, cafe and the restoration of Elliott Hall.

To start phase one of the transformation, money will need to be raised to build the cinema.

So far more than £5,500 has been collected towards the initial public fundraising target of £250,000.

Those who have donated include user Karl Howe who said: "As a family we have enjoyed many shows here, including the recent pantomime, Cinderella. Our kids have enjoyed workshops, taking part in concerts and being supported by Harrow Music Service and their teachers.

"The Harrow Arts Centre should be fully supported and developed for the community and the opportunities it represents for artists, performers and musicians, young and old."

Jonathan Hutchins added: "This centre already serves so much of the community of Harrow and far beyond - it is not only vital for the arts but is vital for the education of the young, the continuing vitality of the old and the social cohesion of the rich cultural mix in the borough.

"This project if successful could provide the cultural heart that an area of such a high density of population so desperately needs."

Harrow Music Service said: "The Music Service depends on this space for instrumental lessons, concerts, workshops and training. We can make this a brilliant public space for all communities in Harrow with your support."

Currently the centre offers theatre, music, dance, comedy and family events in addition to learning activities for children from babies to teenagers.

The centre is a hub of cultural activity with hundreds of classes, clubs and groups using the spaces each week.

But Harrow Council said it can no longer afford to subsidise the site, which it claims is hampered by a costly collection of old buildings.

Cllr Sue Anderson, responsible for community, culture and resident engagement, said: “Due to cuts to government funding we have had to make some difficult decisions over the last year which has meant that we can no longer fund the arts centre.

“We have been working on a business plan to find a secure and sustainable future for the building and are now at a stage where a new management is to be proposed.

"In order to make this a success we need help to raise money to build new facilities to help keep the arts centre open.

"A small donation can go a long way and we have done extremely well so far. I urge everyone to get behind the arts centre to help keep this much treasured building open."

To find out more about the campaign and to pledge support visit https://spacehive.com/save-harrow-arts-centre!