Storey’s future still hangs in balance

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THE future of Lancaster’s flagship creative industries centre still hangs in the balance this week.

Simon Ryder, chairman of Storey Creative Industries Centre (SCIC) Ltd, said that the company’s board of directors had now made a provisional decision on how it was to proceed, after stating last week that the future of the building was now “out of our hands”.

The Storey

The Storey

But he declined to say what that decision was, or whether the company was to be wound up.

Lancaster City Council withdrew support for the Storey CIC’s management board last month after the company hit the rocks financially.

On July 19, the council moved the Visitor Information Centre (VIC) out of The Storey in Meeting House Lane to Lancaster library, which caused widespread panic among tenants, who feared that the building was to close imminently.

Mr Ryder said: “We’ve got to share our decision with staff and tenants first and discuss it with the council before we can make anything public.

“Progress is being made and everyone is committed to resolving the uncertainty here as soon as possible.”

Michael Gibson, who has been speaking on behalf of tenants was unavailable for comment, however Paul Lewis, owner of the NICE Restaurant inside the Storey stressed that NICE was still open for business.

“All the tenants are awaiting news of the future plans.

“It is particularly upsetting for me because I have bookings right up to 2014 and have worked hard with my team to build up NICE’s reputation.”

The business was due to cater for a wedding at the Storey this weekend, however the bride cancelled with 12 days to go.

Me Lewis added: “Because of all the uncertainty we were unable to confirm whether our facilities would still be available for Carla’s wedding, but we did not want to let her down so we are still doing the catering for her big day.”

A spokesman for Lancaster City Council said: “The board has not yet informed the council of its decision but Simon Ryder has said that he wishes to meet with Mark Cullinan and arrangements are currently being made for this meeting to happen as soon as possible.

“The current arrangements for the VIC are seen as temporary and will be reviewed once the position of SCIC Ltd becomes clearer.”

Lancaster’s Spotlight Club, normally based at The Storey, has moved its next event on September 21 to the Park Hotel in Prospect Street due to the continuing uncertainties.