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Thursday, 28 August 2014

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Council accused of misleading public about Ulverston hall’s cash woes

A STRUGGLING Ulverston venue is too important to be allowed to close, it has been claimed.

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VENUE A massed band consisting of Ulverston Victoria High School pupils and Royal Marines on stage in the Coronation Hall, below

Town councillors vowed on Monday to ensure the Coronation Hall stayed open for business – and accused the district council of misrepresenting its financial woes.

Councillor Colin Pickthall said there had been warning signs that South Lakeland District Council, which runs the building, has plans to dispose of the popular venue – which costs more than £900 a day to keep open.

Councillors attacked comments made by Councillor Graham Vincent, SLDC portfolio holder for communities and well-being, saying his figures on the hall’s operating costs were deliberately misleading.

Cllr Pickthall told a meeting of the town council: “We would never be forgiven, any of us, if we let the Coronation Hall slide. I don’t think we will but we need to get on with that now.”

Councillor Janette Jenkinson said: “The Coronation Hall is costly, we have to face facts, but it has a huge place in the hearts of Ulverstonians. It has become a focal point for the whole area and none of us want to see that go.”

A number of councillors said the running costs quoted for the building were misleading because they included salaries to management.

Councillor Phil Lister said: “I think you will find that the Coronation Hall is on much stronger financial footing if you separate it from management costs.”

Cllr Vincent said the Coronation Hall was not viable and dismissed the criticism of the hall’s corporate costs, saying they were unavoidable.

He claimed corporate costs worked out at £274 per day – meaning that even without them the hall would still be facing a £632 daily shortfall.

He added: “I welcome the town council’s commitment to the Coro but there is still a fundamental problem.”

Cllr Vincent said he would be happy to meet with town councillors to discuss the issue further but gave no assurances over the hall’s future.

He said: “If there is a future for the Coronation Hall outside of the council, I think that is quite appropriate.

“If people can do things better than we do they should be allowed to do that.”

Have your say

A cash crisis? A loss making venue? And yet they turn away a second "Buffers Reunion" evemt, after the first one filled the place and made a fair few quid - because it's not the sort of event they want? It's all about bums on seats as I remember from my days working in entertainment?

Posted by Darren McSweeney on 14 February 2013 at 21:24

Do you think this is the First time the Public has been mislead by any Furness Councils, I suspect Not?

Posted by Wally. on 14 February 2013 at 11:49

View all 4 comments on this article

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