Storey’s happy ending

The Storey Institute in Lancaster.
The Storey Institute in Lancaster.

The Storey in Lancaster is facing a “very bright future” as room use and income rises following a turbulent two years.

Lancaster City Council re-took possession of the Storey, in Meeting House Lane, in 2012 after Storey Creative Industries Ltd – the company that ran it – went into administration.

At the same time businesses moved out due to the building’s uncertain future, and at one point the council closed the Visitor Information Centre, leaving the Storey and its occupants in dire straits.

NICE Bar and Restaurant continued to operate at The Storey, also managing the reception area, and the council now says that things are looking up with 71 per cent of the managed workspace now fully occupied.

Lancaster University has just signed a lease for office space on the first floor for post graduate students, due to commence in October, and the whole of the third floor is now a yoga studio, with a dance studio recently opening on the ground floor.

Coun Janice Hanson, cabinet member for economic regeneration and planning, said: “Thanks to the hard work of everyone involved and with the support from the tenants themselves, the Storey can now look forward to a very bright future indeed.

“Serving as an important purpose-designed centre for the creative industries, 71 per cent of the managed workspace is now occupied and this is set to rise with a number of companies and organisations showning a keen interest in taking up space in the building.

“The Storey has also provided the perfect location for a wide range of events. Since April this year alone, 1,500 people have viewed exhibitions held at the Storey and more exhibitions have been confirmed well into 2015. As well as being a hub of activity for exhibitions, conferences, seminars and networking, films, poetry recitals, public talks, music and theatre, it is also growing in popularity as a venue for celebrations and wedding bookings are also on the up.”

The city council said the net estimated cost to operate the Storey this financial year is around £47,000, although this relies on how the Storey performs in terms of the level of income from room bookings and tenanted space.

The income target for hire of premises for meetings, public talks, theatre, live music and exhibitions is £20,400 for this year but current estimates project that by the end of the year room hire could achieve in excess of £30,000.

The council said this would be a major achievement as the income target was £12,000 when the Storey budget was first established in 2012/13.