IT would cost taxpayers £800,000 to move the famous Wurlitzer organ, if the Assembly Hall closed.
Jim Buckland, owner of the seaside organ and chairman of the Sussex Theatre Organ Trust, quoted the figure in a bid to deter any councillors thinking of closing the venue.
Mr Buckland said it was the third time in 10 years he had faced a threat to the Assembly Hall.
He said he did not care if the cost fell on the taxpayer, stating: “The council is responsible.
“It is for them to make the decision.
“If they want to save £1.2 million, it is going to cost them £800,000.
“It is the biggest Wurlitzer organ in Europe, and renowned throughout the world.
“People come from all over to hear it.
“The Assembly Hall was built by, and given to the people of Worthing, by Alderman James Gurney Denton in 1933 by Deed of Covenant and we are now investigating the extent to which this endowment can be interfered with.
“The Assembly Hall belongs to the people of Worthing and the council are merely the custodians.”
Mr Buckland said between 300-400 people attended concerts.
If there was a choice between closing the Connaught or the Assembly Hall, he said the Connaught should go because it was uneconomic, adding: “It is not big enough to justify major shows, and it’s got to have major shows to pay for its cost.”
By 4pm today (Wednesday, March 23), 17,741 people had signed the petition at www.saveworthingtheatres.co.uk to save Worthing’s theatres.