TWO out of the three council owned civic venues in Bury under the threat of closure are to remain open.

Under plans set to be agreed by Bury Council this week the Longfield Centre in Prestwich will not re-open.

But both the Elizabethan Suite at the town hall and Ramsbottom Civic Hall will have a future.

The decision not to re-open the Longfield Suite comes as the prencinct is likely to be demolished in the next few years as it makes way for regeneration.

It also would also require immediate repairs to the roof at a cost of £150,000 if it were to re-open.

The council said all three venues operate at a loss and are in need of significant financial investment.

In November last year, the closure of all three venues was proposed to generate savings.

In the year 2019/20 the venues operated at a combined overspend of £252,000 per year, despite a council subsidy.

A report to Bury Council’s cabinet gave more details of the proposals.

It stated: “Ramsbottom Civic Hall is to re-open once the vaccination centre has ceased, and when Covid restrictions allow.

“Its future is to be considered as part of the current planning process in respect of the place management and movement Plan for Ramsbottom.

“The Longfield Suite will remain closed and be replaced by a new events and community space, to be provided by the redevelopment of Prestwich town centre.

“The sprung dancefloor at the Longfield will be retained and preserved for future use at an alternative venue in the borough and the memorial wall will be relocated as part of the regeneration and development of Prestwich.

“The Elizabethan Suite is to re-open, once the vaccination centre has ceased, however, there will be no catering or beverage function.”

A public survey showed a consensus keep the civic venues open, responders citing they are part of Bury’s history and should be preserved for future generations.

There was a feeling the council should provide such venues as they define the community’s identity and there were specific concerns about the potential loss of the sprung dance floor in Prestwich.

The Elizabethan Suite opened in 1954 and has capacity for 350 people.

The Longfield Suite in Prestwich was opened in 1971 and is the largest of the three venues, with a capacity for 560 people.

The large ballroom homes a large sprung dance floor attracting dancers from across the country.

Ramsbottom Civic Hall was refurbished in 2010 and has capacity for 250 people.

As a result of the pandemic and subsequent government restrictions, all three venues have been closed since March 2020.

However, both the Elizabethan suite and Ramsbottom civic hall are being used as vaccination centres and will continue to do so until the end of July and may be required until 2022.

Opposition Conservative leader, Cllr Nick Jones said his group had campaigned against the venue closures and he was delighted that the council’s leadership had listened to the public about two of the three locations.

He added that it was essential that the sprung dancefloor at the Longfield was kept in the borough and that he was disappointed that there would be no catering or bar facilitles at the Elizabethan as that ‘would be counterproductive for attracting large events like weddings’ there.