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Top rock singer launches campaign to save Morecambe concert venue

Baz Mills (centre) with Massive Wagons

A Lancaster rock front man says the closure of The Platform would be "a kick in the teeth for Morecambe" and has launched a petition to save it.

Baz Mills, lead singer of popular rock band Massive Wagons, said the possible closure of the arts venue would be "heartbreaking to see".

He started an e-petition on Friday which gained more than 300 signatures in just a few hours.

This came after the potential closure of Morecambe and Lancaster Visitor Information Centres and a change of use for The Platform was revealed at a Lancaster City Council meeting on Wednesday.

Related Story: Visitor Information Centres and The Platform under threat due to council budget cuts - Beyond Radio

The petition, on the Change.org website, said: "The Platform live music venue in Morecambe along with a number of local visitors centres are at high risk of being closed permanently.

"This is yet another kick in the teeth for Morecambe and Lancaster, in particular Morecambe as it has become a shadow of its former self over the last 30 or 40 years.

"Morecambe once boasted a myriad of culturally diverse festivals and celebrations welcoming people from all over the country and indeed the world, and now, it sports a flattened theme park and some big shops. 

"I care in particular about live music venues, once closed they rarely re-open, i have seen over the last two years venue after venue close its doors up and down the country, music, entertainment, theatre, these things are the heat and soul of people!!

"They are the voice of your nation, and to keep on shutting them down is heart breaking to see.

"Sign this petition and have your say on your town, your future, your entertainment, make some noise and let the people know you’re not happy about having your culture and your facilities taken away!"

Massive Wagons have had two top 10 albums in the UK charts and perform all over the world, as well as in local venues.

The band's latest release 'Triggered' reached number six and in its first week outsold/outstreamed albums by Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles and Foo Fighters.

Related Story: New album by Lancaster rock band Massive Wagons reaches number six in UK charts - Beyond Radio

Baz is pictured below.

The petition can be found here. 

Councillor Anne Whitehead, the city council's cabinet member for finance, told fellow councillors that The Platform's current use as an arts and concert venue was also no longer viable due to "escalating costs and resource constraints".

Councillor Whitehead said that "alternative uses" would be sought for the former railway station, which opened in its current form in 1997.

She said: "Whilst The Platform has hosted many popular and successful cultural events over its years of direct operation by the council, escalating costs and resource constraints mean the current operating model is no longer viable.

"Alternative uses will be sought for the building whilst the council continues to support Morecambe's rich cultural offer in every possible way, particularly as it accelerates over the coming years as the Eden Project Morecambe takes shape.

"During 2023-24 we will transform our visitor information, tourism and marketing provision from a physical presence in the form of Visitor Information Centres, which can no longer be funded from the end of the 2023 visitor season, to a more digital model, taking a highly focussed, online approach to promoting our district."

The council has said that unless drastic action is taken, it will be left with an estimated £4.2million black hole in its finances for 2023/24.

Longer term, the council is facing a potential deficit of £3.4 million in 2024/25, which could reach £7 million by 2026.

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