Bosses at a crisis-hit arts centre were optimistic today that it still has a future after its latest set back.

The Old Market in Hove has debts of £1.4 million and has been forced to stop booking major artistes.

The centre received another setback this week when trustees heard that the resident Hanover Band could fold.

The band has debts of £150,000 and has been given just two weeks to find the money or face being forced into liquidation.

The period instrument band, which has a worldwide reputation, rents offices at the Old Market as well as performing and recording there.

If the Hanover Band folded, the Old Market could lose money from rent as well as hire of the theatre for concerts.

But Robert Minton, chairman of the Old Market Trust, said the centre could carry on even if the band went into liquidation.

He said: "Our building was restored to provide a permanent home for the Hanover Band.

"The Old Market and the band are two separate entities and it is not true that if one was to fold, the other would follow.

"We are very sad to hear that the Hanover Band is having to find such a large amount of money in so short a time.

"They invested £225,000 in the restoration of the Old Market as a performing arts centre and as their permanent home.

"Our future lies in self-financing events where organisations like the Hanover Band pay to hire the concert hall.

"A number of businesses and community organisations are also based here and pay rent for office space.

"That will continue and we very much hope that the Hanover Band will remain as part of the set-up here.

"Any loss of income, although sad because of the links between us, will not have a major effect on the future we have planned for the Old Market."

The Old Market has made its seven permanent staff redundant and in future will only hire out its theatre to organisations which want to stage shows there or for functions, including weddings.