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Full Report: Fund launched for Newcastle arts

There has been a surprise £600,000 U-turn on arts funding on Tyneside.

Just months after Newcastle City Council proposed cutting all of its support for the city's venues, it is now launching a fund worth more than a half a million pounds.

The council leader says that he hasn't changed his mind, but that they have found the money elsewhere.

And, if it gets approval, theatres could get council funding again by 2016.

Watch the full report from Dan Ashby below.

Statement from Newcastle City Council on the future of City Hall

Newcastle City Council have released the following statement in response to reports that Newcastle's City Hall, which had been under fear of closure, is safe and that it has a new owner.

"We can confirm that we have been in discussions with the Theatre Royal Trust with a view to the theatre taking over the management of the City Hall.

Conversations are still at an early stage and a lot more work has yet to be done but we remain optimistic about a positive outcome.”

– Statement from Newcastle City Council

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City Hall could be saved

There are reports that Newcastle's City Hall, which had been under fear of closure, is safe and that it has a new owner.

It is understood that the Theatre Royal has struck a deal with the music venue in the city and an official announcement on the development is expected tomorrow.

Neither the Theatre Royal nor Newcastle City Council would comment tonight.

More details on that story to follow.

Newcastle City Council sets up arts fund

Newcastle City Council is starting up a £600,000 arts fund for its theatres and arts organisations to apply to.

It comes after the council proposed to cut more than one million pounds of its arts funding in its last budget.

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg accused the council of playing politics with its decisions, but today the council said the decision made financial sense.

Councillor Nick Forbes said the money was coming from alternative revenue streams which were safe from cuts.

Newcastle heritage will be sold to plug £100M funding gap

The carriage has acted as a coach to the Lord Mayor of Newcastle Credit: ITV News

Newcastle City Council is selling off a piece of the city's heritage in a bid to help plug a 100 million pound funding gap.

The Lord Mayor's official coach, which has been pulled through the streets of the city for more than 200 years, is valued at £50,000 and will go towards filling the funding gap.

The closing date for expressions of interest is midday Thursday, February 28th.

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"Save the City Hall" petition in full

The full text of the petition to save Newcastle City Hall reads as follows:

To:

Newcastle City Council, Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council

Save Newcastle City Hall

We the undersigned, ask Newcastle City Council to recognise the historic importance of Newcastle City Hall and to ensure that the building is protected and remains an important cultural centre for Newcastle's people in the future.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

– Petition, Change.org
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