WYRE Council has refuted suggestions that Fleetwood’s Marine Hall is to be sold off.
The authority says it wants to send out a clear message that the seafront venue has a future as a council-run facility and still has lots to offer.
There have been repeated rumours in the town that the council wants off-load the 1930s-built hall, which is still a mainstay of local entertainment and public functions.
But Coun Lynne Bowen, Cabinet member with responsibility for leisure and culture, quashed such stories.
She told the Weekly News: “Some people still believe that the council has no interest in the Marine Hall and is looking to off load it. That’s not the case at all.
“We have always considered Marine Hall to be one of Wyre’s biggest assets and this weekend’s events have underlined this.
“What we’re concentrating on now is marketing the venue in a different way to attract new kinds of audiences.
“Like everyone else in Fleetwood, we want the Marine Hall to be successful and we’re doing everything we can as a council to make that happen.”
The news has been welcomed by Alan Bell, director of the Fylde Folk Festival, whose event packs out the Marine Hall each year.
Mr Bell said: “We’ve heard all kinds of rumours about the Marine Hall. I’m delighted that the council is showing faith in it because it is a true community facility used by so many groups.
“And since Wyre revamped the stage’s sound system about five years ago, it has been the equal of any top community hall in the country.”
More than 2,000 people packed into Marine Hall at the weekend, and the council says this sends out a clear message that the Fleetwood venue still has a future as a top entertainment centre.
Two sell-out shows, the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines on Friday evening and the Fleetwood Brass Band Championship on Sunday, also contributed to the local economy as people flocked from out of town to watch and take part.
The brass band championships alone pulled in 900 competitors from all over the North West.
A delighted Wyre Council now hopes this will put an end to any doubts about the future of Marine Hall as it continues to invest time, effort and resources into raising its profile, not just as a theatre, but as an all-round venue for festivals, weddings, conferences and more.
The council says one of its key aims is to present a mixture of professional and amateur shows, tapping into new avenues that haven’t been explored previously.
This Saturday night a top opera event is being staged at the venue to help celebrate the counci’s £1.6m Sea Change programme.
Audiences will now be asked what kind of shows they’d like to see being staged inside and out, in order to make use of the new outdoor performance area incorporated into the £1m transformation of Marine Gardens.