Morecambe Winter Gardens Morecambe Winter Gardens Preservation Trust c Wikimedia UK user Nilfanion via CC BY SA . SLASH FAlkqq

Morecambe Winter Gardens will receive a new extension with lifts and toilets thanks to the Cultural Development Fund. Credit: Wikimedia UK user Nilfanion via CC BY-SA 4.0,

Work starts on £2.7m Morecambe Winter Gardens restoration

Using £2.7m from the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport, the project will increase the theatre’s capacity from 1,000 to 1,600, rewire the building’s electrical system, improve the lighting, and install an accessible lift.

Morecambe Winter Gardens Preservation Trust is leading the revitalisation of the 127-year-old building. The theatre opened in 1897 and hosted a variety of performances from The Who and Julie Andrews before it was closed in 1977.

Since 2006, the trust has been working to bring the grade two star-listed building back to life. This involves improving the audio-visual equipment and adding an acoustic shell to the building’s fly-tower.

However, this is just part of what the trust has planned for the theatre. With the assistance of project manager Place Capital Group and lead architect Buttress, the trust wants to further grow the venue’s capacity to 2,300 before the end of 2027.

“We are excited to be further progressing the restoration of this historic venue of great importance to the people of Morecambe,” said Buttress director Stephen Anderson.

“We will continue to work with the trust and its partners to support them through the planning process and deliver a landmark venue.”

The trio is currently drawing up a planning application for an extension to the building to help enable this growth, with an eye towards submitting the proposals to Lancaster City Council in spring.

Vanessa Toulmin, a professor at the University of Sheffield and chair of the trust, described the Winter Gardens as “a sleeping beauty”.

“It’s a building that is central to Morecambe’s regeneration,” she continued. “It shows us that we not just a past but that we have a future.

“We have a wonderful architect in Buttress and the project manager Place Capital Group has been fantastic in their support for us.”

Place Capital Group project director Eleanor Binns added: “I’m looking forward to delivering this infrastructure scheme, it’s part of the journey to recreating this fantastic space for the trust and ultimately for the local community.”

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Morecambe born & bred – the trust have done fantastic work & glad to see this community asset gradually come back to life…

But doesn’t this again highlight just how broken local government funding / trust is? How much officer / civil servant time taken up with a £2.7mn grant? Whether it’s the most prudent use of funds surely is a decision for local place makers, not central gov.

By Anonymous

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