Carlisle band Hardwicke Circus has reacted with sadness that the city is about to lose a popular music venue.

The city council has announced that the iconic Old Fire Station will not reopen its doors on May 17 after a deal could not be reached between the owner – Carlisle City Council – and the proposed operator.

A spokeswoman for the city council said: “Unfortunately during the pandemic the new lease for the Old Fire Station couldn’t be completed with the proposed operator.

"The opportunity to run the venue will be going out to tender again to get an operator in place to manage the venue.”

Hardwicke Circus’ lead singer Jonny Foster hoped the station would reopen – and paid tribute to council arts officer Stephen Dunn.

He said: “It’s a real shame. We’ve played the Fire Station, we’ve headlined it three times over the past couple of years. It’s one of the pillars of the creative city. It’s a venue we’re lucky to have, and have played at, and watched some of my favourite and most exciting acts right here in Carlisle.”

Morgan Freemanlamb wanted to get political: “Tory council have wanted to close this venue since it opened. They don’t like all the ‘Leftie’ bands and comedians playing there.

“Come on Gareth get it reopened so we have a live venue in this Town.”

Jennifer Smith seemed to suggest that the views of Hardwicke Circus were unimportant in this debate: “Surely this should be about the loss of yet another great venue and what it will mean to the staff and music scene as a whole instead of plugging a single band.

"Sorry for those who have put so much into the venue, the staff and promoters who are are finding it more difficult than ever to arrange local gigs. Many bands will be sad to see it go.”

Maureen Barlow spoke for most with her comment: “Hope it reopens - we have seen some fantastic gigs there and we were waiting hopefully for it to re-open.”

Ange Askew agreed: “Love this intimate venue .🤞Please stay open .Cumbria needs places like this.”