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INTERVIEW: Councillor explains reasons for U-turn on Platform venue

The Platform will remain open under council management

A leading councillor has explained the reasons for a U-turn on the future of the Platform arts venue during a live interview on Beyond Radio.

Councillor Catherine Potter, cabinet member for the visitor economy on Lancaster City Council, appeared on our weekly local news show 'Beyond the Headlines' on Friday.

Councillor Potter answered listeners' questions about the decision to keep the Platform open as an entertainment venue under city council management.

"We very strongly believe that we can make the Platform cost-neutral and we felt it was right to give the staff the opportunity to make that happen," she said.

"A lot of people were worried that the Platform was going to close its doors but I'm assured that was really never intended to be the case, (we) were always looking for a third-party operator, but now we've found a way to keep it in-house."

Councillor Potter was joined by her Labour colleague, County Councillor Lizzi Collinge, who is also the Parliamentary candidate in Morecambe and Lunesdale in the next general election, for the live interview in the Beyond Radio studio.

LISTEN to our interview with Councillor Potter and County Councillor Collinge (pictured below)

On Thursday, the city council announced the Platform will remain under their control.

They had originally planned to pull out of running the concert venue at the end of March 2024, putting its future at risk.

The Platform staff will now resume taking bookings for beyond that date, and the council will develop a new operating model to reduce running costs, which will include a new membership scheme and 'Friends of the Platform' group.

Talks had been taking place with three un-named local 'third-party operators' who were interested in taking on the Marine Road Central venue.

The council originally wanted to withdraw from running the Platform as part of £2.4m worth of budget cuts - because it has been costing them £150,000 a year to operate.

Worries over a possible closure led to a public outcry and thousands of people signing petitions calling for the popular venue - located inside Morecambe's former railway station - to stay open.

"Like many organisations locally and nationally, the Platform was very badly affected by Covid," said Councillor Potter.

"Prior to Covid, that figure was more like £50,000. We are already making massive in-roads on that subsidy because more people are coming to events. The last few weekends have been completely sold out so (covering the shortfall) is not as hard as maybe it sounds."

Read more: Morecambe’s Platform venue saved from closure after council u-turn - Beyond Radio

Read more: New 'Friends of Platform' and membership scheme announced as key to Morecambe venue staying open - Beyond Radio

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