Tenants are quitting Lancaster's Storey Creative Industries Centre because of a rise in service charges.
The Lancaster Guardian reports bosses at the Centre are grappling with a financial crisis, after companies occupying the building on Meeting House Lane were hit with a bill for £99,651 in additional charges late last year.
The demand went out soon after Lancaster City Council, which owns the
building, baled out the centre with a £90,000 loan after it lost its public funding. Tenants, whose
bills were effectively doubled, have refused to pay up - and some, such as technology comopany Moshen, have moved out.
The building houses the offices of Lancaster LitFest, the Tourist Office and has spaces for performance used by local arts groups such as Spotlight, as well as offices for businesses.
One tenant, who asked not to be named, told the Guardian: “You have to ask why this
problem wasn’t tackled sooner. The Storey board and the city council
knew the grant funding was going to be lost. Instead of cutting costs
they just decided to charge the tenants whose rent keeps the place
going. Now there is going to be an exodus.”
Lancaster City Council and the Storey board issued a joint statement
yesterday which revealed that the council plans to step in and manage
the building directly.
• Read the story online in the Lancaster Guardian or this week's print edition, on sale now in all good local newsagents