Drastic cuts to arts won’t happen until 2015

Coun Eileen Blamire, leader of Lancaster City Council, and the People Power website.
Coun Eileen Blamire, leader of Lancaster City Council, and the People Power website.

The leader of Lancaster City Council says drastic cuts to the arts won’t happen until 2015.

so vowed to fight to keep The Platform and Salt Ayre Sports Centre open.

These council-run venues, as well as festivals and grants to The Dukes, Ludus Dance and Litfest, are all on a hit-list for possible cuts as Lancaster City Council needs to slash £2.3m from its budget.

But Coun Blamire, who leads a Labour-Green coalition on the council’s Cabinet, said: “Things aren’t as bad as we first feared.

“We’re not going to shut anything down in the short term and the threat of closing buildings is not there.

“But we have to look carefully at how we use them and at what notice we can give for the long term. The thing I don’t want to do is close things down that will never open again.”

A plan to move a customer service centre from Morecambe Town Hall into The Platform is being considered. Opening hours could also be cut at Lancaster and Morecambe Visitor Information Centres (VICs).

Coun Blamire said: “There is nothing drastic that is going to happen this year but we’re going to have to prepare because the year after could be much worse. A lot of money has been saved in ‘back office’ ways. We’re looking again at festivals. Are we getting the best out of them? We may need to encourage the private sector to take up some of the challenges. People value the arts and our heritage and culture. If we want people to come to Lancaster and Morecambe we can’t stop offering the things they enjoy.”

The cabinet meeting was taking place as The Visitor went to press. See www.thevisitor.co.uk