The Musician’s Coop saga continues

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I received this email from the Musician’s Coop today:

We wanted to get in touch in the wake of last month’s full council meeting where councillors voted unanimously to rescind the eviction notice served to Lancaster Musicians Co-op.

I know we have spoken on the phone about it today but I just wanted to put stuff into writing. As you know the eviction order is still in place. We have provided all the necessary insurance documents to council officers (as requested in the motion) and have carried out all the urgent repairs which have been reported back to the council by our structural engineer. These were the only caveats within the motion to rescind the lease and we have carried out all the requirements asked of us. Instead council officers have tried to sideline the issue, trying to take us to task on minor issues within our fire safety assessment, which was not mentioned as a condition of rescinding the lease in the motion. We feel this is simply a tactic used by officers to stall the process of rescinding the lease. We are bitterly disappointed by the lack of democratic process here. As you know the chamber voted unanimously to rescind the lease as long as we carried out certain demands. We have met those demands but still the eviction notice is in place. 

At the meeting of full council last night (Wednesday December 19) further questions were asked about the status of the Musicians Co-op. Despite the unanimous vote last month to secure our future within the building and provide us with a long term lease, Cllr Janice Hanson said she could not give a commitment until after the consultation and the masterplan had been drawn up for the Canal Quarter. We are absolutely outraged by this as at the previous meeting in November assurances were given to the Music Co-op regarding our future at 1, Lodge Street. In fact it was unanimously agreed to give us a long term lease on the building and carry out significant structural repairs at the council’s expense. 

However,  Cllr Hanson seems to think she can overturn the democratic right of councillors to make decisions. There is an extremely worrying statement issued by Cllr Hanson today which can be viewed on the council’s website where she appears to overturn much of what was agreed by councillors in November’s Full Council meeting…

http://www.lancaster.gov.uk/news/2018/dec/statement-from-councillor-janice-hanson-cabinet-member-with-responsibility-for-regeneration-and-planning-in-relation-to-the-canal-quarter-and-musicians-co-op?fbclid=IwAR1ZD7EC2gLPYnU7_uWSBsWsxAA5Hengt2RUrJEB7uaDk_20ewxgVty1OWY

Also at a separate meeting following November’s full council meeting between ourselves and council officers, Cllr Eileen Blamire got very cross and said that nothing would happen regarding the Music Co-op until after consultation regarding the Canal Quarter. This approach certainly seems to be being backed up by the actions of council officers who are stalling progress at every turn.

This is an extremely serious matter and calls into question the whole democratic process within the Lancaster and Morecambe District. We are taking this extremely seriously. Councillor Hanson and Councillor Blamire are clearly backtracking on what was voted upon by Full Council in the meeting of November 14 and we can not let them get away with this abuse of power.

I know you put forward the motion at the Full Council Meeting of November 14th and voted in favour of us and have already showed us so much support so we just wanted to make you aware of what is going on. We have written to the Chief Executive about the matter.

Kind Regards and Merry Christmas!

David Blackwell