End for Winter Gardens

ONE of the most historic venues in north-east Lincolnshire is to close after almost 70 years, it was announced yesterday.

The Winter Gardens in Cleethorpes was being boarded up yesterday as about 120 staff were told they were no longer required.

The venue, which has put on an eclectic mix of entertainment for residents and holidaymakers over the decades, is expected to be pulled down and replaced by luxury flats – a prospect which has horrified some residents.

Opponents of the closure protested on the steps of Grimsby Town Hall on Sunday but were unable to save the venue.

Up to 80 protesters gathered outside the seafront venue before marching on the town hall, carrying placards and shouting slogans along the way.

They urged bosses at North East Lincolnshire Council to step in to save the venue, but it is thought a preservation order could only be granted by English Heritage.

The Winter Gardens, which has a capacity of 800, has hosted a range of stars over the years, including Queen, Rod Stewart, Elton John and The Sex Pistols. It looks likely to have bowed out last night with an evening of ballroom dancing, which proved one of its most enduring events.

"All the staff are devastated," a staff member said.

The Bags Ball held last Wednesday was one of the most popular themed nights of recent times while punk legends The Buzzcocks appeared the following night.

"It's been a really popular venue for people of all ages," said sales and marketing manager Janet Barber, who has worked there since 1988.

"It's a very sad day."