Platform venue ‘not closing’ says council

There will be no immediate cuts to council-run services and venues such as the Platform in Morecambe.
There will be no immediate cuts to council-run services and venues such as the Platform in Morecambe.

The owners of The Platform have moved to quash claims that it might be on the verge of closing down.

Lancaster City Council said there were no plans to shut the railway station-turned entertainment venue in the immediate future.

I’m not saying don’t fund The Dukes or close The Platform or Salt Ayre, all I’m saying is that if front line services are under threat, I’d cut them before I started cutting street cleaning, dustbin collections and environmental health

Councillor Peter Williamson

This comes after the Morecambe Bay Independent party suggested the Platform could be under threat of closure by the end of the year and that a decision on its fate could be taken after the upcoming May elections.

An MBI leaflet dropped through letterboxes in Morecambe said that the venue was not taking any bookings beyond 2015, a claim which was refuted by the council.

A council spokesman said: “It is normal operational procedure to control how far in advance a venue can be booked. In the case of The Platform this advance period is 18 months and we are therefore currently taking bookings up to and including September 2016.”

Meanwhile the future of the venue also sparked a row at the council’s annual budget meeting when the Tory leader said it costs too much to run.

Councillor Peter Williamson said his party would not support the 2015/16 budget because “we have two failing theatres (the Platform and the Dukes) costing us £356,000 a year.”

Coun Williamson also wondered why the council continued to run Salt Ayre Sports Centre when it was estimated to lose £1.2m in 2015/16.

Coun Williamson said after the meeting: “I’m not saying don’t fund The Dukes or close The Platform or Salt Ayre, all I’m saying is that if front line services are under threat, I’d cut them before I started cutting street cleaning, dustbin collections and environmental health.”

The Platform is projected to run at a £214,300 annual loss in 2015/16.

For a full report on the council’s budget meeting see www.thevisitor.co.uk