Culture Secretary throws support behind bid to secure long term future of Ironworks music venue

The Cabinet Secretary for Culture has thrown her support behind efforts to find new premises for the under-threat Ironworks.

The future of the venue was left in limbo after shock plans revealed a pre-planning application had been lodged to tear down the current building and replace it with a luxury 162-bed city hotel.

Bosses at the under-threat Ironworks in Inverness earlier this month had a new venue in their sights after “fantastically positive” crunch talks between Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), High Life Highland, Highland Council, Creative Scotland and David Stewart MSP.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop visited Inverness earlier this week for the Convention of the Highlands and Islands and committed her support to aid in finding a secure base during an exclusive interview with The Press and Journal.

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Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop and David Stewart MSP met to discuss the future of the Ironworks last night in the Scottish Parliament

Ms Hyslop said she has taken “a keen interest” into the issue, adding that ultimately she wishes to see a dedicated music base in the Highlands secured for the long-term.

She said: “I have been in touch with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to encourage them to work with the Ironworks about opportunities for the future. They have obviously been successful in bringing good, popular live music acts to Inverness that is benefitting not just Inverness but the wider area and we want to see that continue.

“The creative industries and the cultural modern contemporary music scene matters a great deal to Scotland and I want to see what I can do to support it.

“I think it is what everybody wants to see and that is what we are working to.”

Ironworks Director Caroline Campbell welcomed the latest commitment of support, adding: “It’s encouraging that the venue is being viewed as a key cultural and creative asset for the region and we’re incredibly grateful to our customer base for the overwhelming level of support they have shown since the story became visible.

“We remain committed to ensuring that we continue to attract high-level acts to the Highlands and Islands – as well as acting as a destination where locally-based talent can develop their craft in a world-class destination.”

Ms Hyslop’s comments came ahead of a meeting with David Stewart MSP last night to discuss ways to aid the Ironworks to secure its long term future.

Mr Stewart said: “I had a very positive meeting with Fiona Hyslop. We were looking at short term and long term solutions, continuing the Ironworks in a new venue.

“I am delighted with the fantastic support from all agencies. I got a very positive sense from the cabinet secretary that she is doing everything she can do secure the future of this project.”

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