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Plans for new roof at Lancaster Music Co-Op given thumbs up

1 Lodge Street in Lancaster, home of Lancaster Music Co-Op

Plans to reopen the Lancaster Musicians' Co-Op have taken a step forward after a new roof was given the thumbs up.

Councillors agreed to grant planning permission for a new roof at the 1 Lodge Street building at a meeting on Monday.

The Musicians' Co-Op provided a safe, accessible and affordable space for musicians, from beginners to professionals, to rehearse and record since it opened in 1985.

But the building deteriorated to the point where the cost of major structural repairs rendered it unusable and it was forced to temporarily close.

A new roof will make the premises watertight and prevent further damage to the building, councillors were told at Monday's meeting held at Morecambe Town Hall.

A new window on the first floor at the back of the building was also given planning permission.

Last month, after 20 years of campaigning, Lancaster Musicians' Co-Op signed a 100-year lease on the building and a funding agreement with Lancaster City Council.

Countless musicians have used the Co-Op including well-known local bands such as Massive Wagons, The Lovely Eggs, The Heartbreaks and many more.

In 2018 Lancaster’s creative community rallied together and fought hard to save the Co-Op after an eviction notice was served by Lancaster City Council.

Following public pressure, councillors voted unanimously to save the Co-op, repair the building, issue a long-term lease and protect its future.

Earlier this year, the Musicians' Co-Op was granted £250,000 of funding from the government's community ownership fund and £50,000 of project management funding to help it get back on its feet after several years of closure.

Read more: Lancaster Music Co-Op signs "momentous" 100-year lease after 20-year battle - Beyond Radio

INTERVIEW: Lancaster Music Co-Op gets £300K funding boost for reopening - Beyond Radio

New chief appointed to oversee £700,000 Lancaster Musicians' Co-Op revamp - Beyond Radio

Trustees of the Co-Op's neighbours, the Lancaster Grand Theatre, were at the town hall to hear the decision on Monday.

There had been some concerns among supporters of the Grand that if the Co-Op is used for live music performances, the sound could clash with shows at the theatre.

But after the meeting, representatives of the Musicians' Co-Op and the Lancaster Grand both told Beyond Radio that they would be working together to try to resolve any issues.

Anthony Dickens, project manager at the Lancaster Musicians' Co-Op, said: "It was a positive meeting and we are working collaboratively with our neighbours."

Mark Hutton, new chair of the trustees of the Grand, said: “We are pleased that 1 Lodge St is starting its journey towards full restoration and return to a use that will not only protect the heritage of the buildings, but also help support and promote the vibrant music and arts scene that Lancaster is synonymous with.

"Today’s application related only to refurbishment of the roof and consequently lacked detail on the intended internal use and finishes.

"It was a great relief to hear the Musicians' Co-operative representative brief the meeting on the work that was being planned to provide sound insulation throughout the building so future performances in the theatre would not be disturbed by noise transmission.

"The Grand Theatre very much looks forward to working with the Musicians' Co-operative as the re-development continues throughout its various stages”.

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