Ulverston arts centre to be put up for sale
Last updated at 16:50, Tuesday, 31 July 2012
ULVERSTON’S Lanternhouse is to be sold off – and organisers of the Lantern Festival are facing continuing uncertainty over where it will stage its workshops.
Lanternhouse International plans to sell the building to raise money after its funding was slashed by 80 per cent earlier this year.
The popular arts centre has traditionally been used for workshops to build the lanterns for the festival and its sale would cause festival organisers a major headache.
But Denis McGeary, chairman of the Lanternhouse International board, said selling the building was now the only logical thing they could do.
He said: “There is no way it can carry on – it can either close down entirely or the building can be put up for sale and that is what is happening.”
The arts charity has been losing money for the past three years and, having now lost its Arts Council England funding, can no longer afford to keep the building.
Meanwhile, a town councillor is hoping a way can be found to keep the building open for the local community.
Councillor Jane Harris said: “If it means Lanternhouse going out of use as a community centre then it is a great shame.
“I think it would be wrong for the council to take it over but we will see whether a group of people want to do it.”
From this autumn, anyone trying to sell a building designated as important to the community will have to notify the local authority and give interested local groups six months to prepare a bid.
Mr McGeary said he would welcome any attempt to keep the building open but he could not envisage a group managing to do so effectively without suffering financially.
He also said there has been interest in the building and that board members had figures in mind but had not yet set an asking price for the property.
Peter Winston, chairman of the Ulverston Lantern Supporters Group, said they are looking at other solutions if they cannot use Lanternhouse but insisted the festival would definitely take place.
First published at 16:11, Tuesday, 31 July 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
I feel very sad at this news. I was at the opening of the building, my daughter's wedding reception was held there and my granddaughter's naming ceremony also took place there. I thought the spaces were wonderful and the potential great. But, once WSI left and Northern Arts pulled the plug, it would have been difficult to keep it going. Rather like when Renaissance Theatre Trust died about 20 years ago - remember, Denis?
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