New chapter for the Storey

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The Storey in Lancaster is getting its ‘buzz’ back, according to a report presented to the city council’s cabinet on Tuesday.

Cabinet members visited the Storey last month for an informal meeting with tenants, who are expected to be offered new, long term leases in January.

Lancaster City Council took possession of the building from the Storey Creative Industries Centre Ltd (SCIC Ltd), after it got into serious financial difficulties and entered into liquidation in August.

The report said that tenants had appreciated recent improvements, including the provision of a much faster broadband service, and that the challenge now was to create a financially viable and sustainable operation and master the tricky balance of the managed workspace, events and arts and cultural side of the building.

The council’s regeneration and planning department is now working on a brief for how to develop the Storey operation in the medium to long term which will take account of future developments such as Lancaster Castle. A draft of a new business plan is expected in the new year.

SCIC Ltd’s liquidator is currently in the process of confirming any amounts owed by or owed to the company.

Meanwhile the Storey Gallery space has closed after the company running it also got into financial difficulties.

In October, city councillors decided not to allocate a £27,100 grant to the company, usually used for rent, and instead use the money to support the future management and operation of the gallery space.

A £10,700 grant for artistic activities was also held back until the Storey Gallery company brought details of any specific project to cabinet.

Councillors decided at the cabinet meeting to underwrite the company’s rent and service charges for its office at The Storey until February to allow time for funding applications to the Arts Council.