Volunteers are being urged to help restore and reopen Morecambe Winter Gardens, which closed more than 30 years ago, after its owners failed to secure the funds needed to redevelop it.
The venue, bought by the Morecambe Winter Gardens Preservation Trust in 2006, closed in 1977 and has had limited use since, hosting small-scale theatrical productions and concerts.
It has also provided the backdrop for television series, including the forthcoming BBC drama about Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise, starring Victoria Wood.
Last year, its owners sought £12 million from a variety of sources – including the government’s Sea Change scheme – to restore the venue. But their bids were unsuccessful, so they are now calling on local people to help bring the venue to operational standard by donating money or free labour.
Trust treasurer Stephen Jones said the venue has a limited electricity supply and needs new toilets and “basic maintenance” – such as painting and plastering – in order to be opened again.
He said: “We are going to approach the restoration in a piecemeal manner – doing small jobs, as and when we can, to get the building up to a basic standard.”
Jones added that having the venue reopened would “bring so much life back to Morecambe”.
He said: “The building itself is stunning, and it has such unique character and atmosphere, which adds to whatever event is held there. It’s definitely worth trying to get it up to standard.”
He added that local support for the venue had “always been strong” and said he was confident local people would continue to help.