Fears have been raised that artists and tradespeople will have nowhere to go amid concerns a community hub at the heart of Bridport may shut.

Artyfacts Studios in St Michael's Lane offers an inexpensive venue for artists and craftspeople from across the west Dorset area to showcase and sell their work.

The studios was opened in 2019 by Fay Boon and has since been taken over by her son Peter Boon - however, concerns have been mounting about the future of the venue.

Mr Boon told the News he cannot keep it going in its present form - however discussions were underway to try and make space available for artists in a new venture with another tenant.

One concerned resident from Lyme Regis, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: "There is an amazing community of people who rely on the income from their sales.

"They have become my friends and family and I'm absolutely gutted. The community may be lost.

"I'm devastated that the news of the closure happened so quickly and without concern on its impact on the people involved there."

Peter Boon said: "My wife and my mother had co-run the framing studio at the back of 40 St Michael's Lane since 2017 as co-occupants with Dogwood Antiques.

"When Dogwood Antiques finished in 2019 we were looking for something to do with the rest of the space.

"Artyfacts was conceived as a useful use of the space. It was designed to support itself financially with artists paying a fee to display and sell their work. It was unfortunate that the majority of Artyfacts operation time has coincided with Covid and we have not been able to achieve that.

"As has been usual every January a number of artists have stopped displaying. This is completely understandable as sales are lower in January and I understand the decision of those who have left.

"I particularly appreciate the artists that have stayed on despite the fact that Artyfacts is quiet in spring. However, I can no longer keep it going in its present form.

"I understand everyone needs to make a living. I also need to make a living and for this reason it's time for me to pass the space to someone else."

Mr Boon said a number of parties have come forward with ideas for co-operation running as co-tennants while he runs the framing studio.

He added: "One party presented the most convincing model of how to make the space operate for the long term and we made an agreement with them to become co-occupants from April.

"They plan to continue to use some of the space for local artists and craftspeople.

"The space will be closed throughout March and we're hoping under management by April.

"All artists will get at least two months' notice."

The space is rented from St Michael's Trading Estate landlords Hayward & Co.

Mr Boon added: "We have discussed this plan with landlords Hayward & Co and they have said they will always support the tennants."