Meeting over Lowther fees

Tim Lince, head of the trustees, welcomes new manager Isabelle Leclerq to the Lowther Pavilion earlier this year.
Tim Lince, head of the trustees, welcomes new manager Isabelle Leclerq to the Lowther Pavilion earlier this year.
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OFFICIALS at Lowther Pavilion want local amateur performance groups to help them resolve grievances over their future use of the Lytham theatre.

The Lowther Trust, has called a meeting over fees and charges for the West Beach venue, which will be held in conjunction with Fylde Council -– and says it is open to all suggestions.

The Trust, which is currently in negotiation with the council over assuming full-time running of the Lowther, has pledged it is committed to accommodating the many amateur groups who already use the theatre – and would like to encourage even more.

But it has come in for a barrage of criticism in recent weeks from a number of drama groups concerned about their future at the venue.

Prime among the worries of some is that they could be priced out by a new charging structure for the hire of the theatre which is set to come into effect in the New Year. For instance, the long-established Nogal company, which is based in Kirkham, claims that it could end up paying up to 40 per cent more.

The Trust claims that Lowther is very competitive compared to other similar venues around the country but now wants input from the user groups at a meeting on Monday week in a bid to resolve any ongoing issues - and has pledged that all scenarios will be considered.

In a letter to the groups concerned, theatre manager Isabelle Leclerq says: “Each group will have one representative at the table and we will revisit fees and charges for hiring the theatre.

“This is a one-issue meeting and each representative will be given eight minutes to propose how charges and fees should be levelled for the venue and at what level.

“All scenarios would be considered and at the end of the meeting, one decision will be taken on how to move forward on fees and charges.”

Trust chairman Tim Lince said: “We are aware of the concerns expressed by various groups and want to hear what they have to say.”

The meeting on January 9 starts at 7pm.