Town hall chiefs today hailed a welcome boost for Fleetwood as it was revealed a popular arts venue has slashed its losses by more than half.
The Marine Hall cost the taxpayer £200,000 last year, down 58 per cent since 2008, and bosses say they hope one day to see it break even.
It comes as it was announced another key landmark, the Mount Pavilion, will re-open to the public as part of a year-long community arts project.
Coun Alan Vincent, Wyre Council cabinet member for resources, said: “We have been working hard on the Marine Hall to reduce the subsidy over the past few years.
“It had got to the point where it was costing us more than £400,000 a year and draining the public purse.
“We have made very significant progress and we have done it by making some decisions that have not been all that popular.”
The council decided to phase out subsidies for loss-making events as part of efforts to balance the books.
“What it has done is focused the Marine Hall on events that make money,” added Coun Vincent.
“We have still got that ambition to break even. We have not stopped trying to do that.
“We have achieved an awful lot so far but there is room for further progress.”
On the other side of the road, the Mount Pavilion has been unveiled as the location for a new project that will see four artists take up residency over the next 12 months.
Coun Lynne Bowen, cabinet member for leisure and culture, said: “We’re looking forward to seeing the Mount open to the public and being used by the local community.
“The Mount is a space close to the hearts of the people of Fleetwood and this series of residencies and workshops is a fantastic addition to the extensive programme of activities and events taking place in the town this summer and beyond.” Michael Trainor, artistic director of LeftCoast, which is behind the arts project, said: “This is an amazing building which is clearly well loved by the community in Fleetwood and we’re very excited to be working with Wyre Council to bring this programme of arts activity to the space.”
The first artists to take up residence at The Mount will be Pete Moser, who will be composing and performing an original song every hour for 24 hours on August 20, and Matt Robinson, who will host a series of free music workshops for the public.