Fiery Bird music venue lease delays leave opening date hanging in the balance

September 22, 2017
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The opening of a new live music venue for Woking hangs in the balance after volunteers working on the project revealed that a specific opening date has not been confirmed.

The Phoenix Cultural Centre has been busy preparing to transform the Quake nightclub into the Fiery Bird live music and arts venue.

The team, currently based in Goldsworth Road in the town, has spent nearly a decade campaigning for a venue where artists can perform and the talent of the town can be appreciated.

The Phoenix Cultural Centre team was offered the venue in March 2016 and since then has been looking at a number of initiatives, as well as applying for funding bids, to move the project forward.

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The first gig was held at the Fiery Bird in April 2017, a momentous occasion for all the people behind the scenes who had worked so hard to see their dream become a reality.

Since then, the volunteers have been unable to give an official opening date to those interested in the project, due to waiting for the lease to be confirmed.

They have now spoken about their concerns on how the opening date has been stalled.

Elaine McGinty, chief executive of Phoenix Cultural Centre Community Interest Company (CIC), said the volunteers had asked Woking Borough Council for a space to use but had not asked for money as they are submitting their own funding bids.

“The grassroots officers at the council have worked really hard and we appreciate and acknowledge their work,” she said.

“We have no confidence that a non-affiliated non profit music/community/cultural venue will ever be accommodated whether in an empty building as we have been asking to use over recent years or in anything in the future based on recent experience.

“As Paul Weller wrote…’Struggle after struggle, year after year.

“‘The atmosphere’s a fine blend of ice, I’m almost stone cold dead in a town called malice’.

“I have never asked him but I am pretty sure it wasn’t meant as a town planning instruction,” Ms McGinty added.

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A statement from the Phoenix Cultural Centre CIC, said: “Lots of people are asking for updates on taking over the Quake nightclub we were offered by Woking Borough Council in March 2016 to make into a live music venue, The Fiery Bird, cultural centre and community space and what is happening.

“After several dates promised over the last year-and-a-half on when we could take it over we are still waiting for the lease.

“The next date we have been given is October 2017 though no specific date has been confirmed to us and as we have had ‘definite’ dates offered before that were unable to be met, we can’t have confidence in that.

“The end date of the lease they are offering is still not changing at March 2020.

“After this we understand that the area is being redeveloped, as yet no site is identified after this time for a music venue/cultural centre so post 2020 we do not know if we can obtain premises to bring all the elements of the project together to benefit the community.”


The statement continued: “Without a date we can’t plan activity though we have many many contacts wanting to make things happen in there.”

As no confirmation can be given about the space and its longevity, funding bids for the Fiery Bird has stalled too.

A Woking Borough Council spokesman said: “The former Quake nightclub is the subject of a complex set of leasing arrangements with various third parties whose consent is also required to enable the Phoenix Cultural Centre to take occupation.

“Woking Borough Council has done all that it can to bring the negotiations and legal documentation to a conclusion with both the freehold owner and the existing tenant.

“Completion of the agreement currently rests with the existing tenant who have indicated the end of October as a likely timescale.”

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Article source: http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/fiery-bird-music-venue-lease-13636564


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