Sunday, May 02, 2004

ASHTON UNDER THREAT: There are few venues which keep going much beyond a handful of years, so you'd imagine that having a successful music venue, attracting fans from right across the northwest of the country, bands from across the country and beyond, and offering rehearsal space and support for young bands (and, by implication, that disaffected youth we hear so much about) would be a source of pride for a local council, wouldn't you? And yet, Tameside Council seems really happy to force the Ashton-Under-Lyme Witchwood to close after twenty years, in order to allow the land it stands on to be used to create some identikit nowhere town officey units. The venue is looking at a compulsary purchase order. Of course, if there was any real demand for the blanding down of the area and the destruction of one of the regional venues most important in the British rock scene, you'd expect the developers to be bunnying up the cash themselves for the project. Instead, Ask Property Development is being handed GBP14.25million of public money to build the offices. The Witchwood is campaigning to stay open, and we wish it all the best.

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