Plans for new hotel in Inverness spark renewed concerns over future of live music venue
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The campaign to find a new home for a popular live music venue in Inverness city centre has been given added urgency with plans set to be lodged for a 162-bedroom hotel.
Bricks Group is submitting an application today for the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in Academy Street which will be able to cater for up to 100,000 guests a year but it will mean the Ironworks music business will have to move out of its current premises.
Highlands and Islands MSP David Stewart has campaigned vigorously to ensure the future of the business is protected after initial proposals for the new hotel emerged.
“People are going to be really worried about what is going to happen to the Ironworks now," he said.
“It’s a private business but it’s got a huge public interest, so the government must step in, and quickly.
“This is not just about saving the Ironworks, it’s about safeguarding all the other related businesses that could be in trouble if a new home isn’t secured for the business to move into.
"I’m told by top industry bosses that while our summer festival circuit here in the Highlands and Islands is strong, it wouldn’t take an awful lot to change that.
"I look at the young acts that would be losing opportunities to play on the big stage by getting the support slots the Ironworks can give, the touring artists that would no longer be coming up to this area, and the vast numbers of people who will be denied live music with the rawness that only the Ironworks can bring, and that’s what motivates me to carry on campaigning and to continue raising this with ministers and in the Scottish Parliament.
"I think I echo the sentiments of all music lovers in the Highlands and Islands when I say I don’t care where the Ironworks moves to. As long as it’s here and it’s happening.”
A petition launched by Mr Stewart in support of his campaign to find a new home has already attracted more than 2500 signatures.
It can be found at www.change.org/find a new home for the ironworks