Garbage’s Shirley Manson urges council to save community centre

Garbage star Shirley Manson. Picture: Getty
Garbage star Shirley Manson. Picture: Getty
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GARBAGE star Shirley Manson has urged the city council to put music ahead of money – and save the “incredible jewel” of a building where she began her singing career.

Manson practised at the Inch Community Centre before a singing career that launched her on to the world stage in the 1990s.

But, as the Evening News revealed last month, the 17th-century, A-listed building may be sold off because the city council can’t fund a repair bill it believes could reach as much as £1 million.

Now Manson, in an impassioned statement, has called directly on council bosses to save the centre which allowed her to begin her career – and preserve it for a new generation of musicians.

Manson said: “I am no politician. I am sure running a city is more complicated than I can possibly imagine.

“However, it seems to me that the Inch Community Centre is an incredible jewel in Edinburgh council’s crown.

“Earlier generations’ preservation of historical buildings such as this one is what makes Edinburgh the envy of cities around the globe.

“I understand preserving it will require an enormous undertaking that perhaps the council is loathe to invest in.

“However, sometimes the value of things must not be, cannot be, judged in monetary terms alone.

“We must think of the future value of a building like this, of the value it brings to our architecturally renowned city, and of the service it can provide to so many Edinburgh musicians who are already struggling to find somewhere affordable where they can come together to practice their music in a serious and applied fashion.

“I urge Edinburgh council to be creative in ways they have not yet imagined in an effort to keep this exquisite property in the hands of the people.”

Manson’s call comes in the midst of a campaign to save the centre, the closure of which council officials are expected to recommend next month.

Shadow Scottish secretary and Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray has launched a petition to save the building.

A council spokesman said: “A full report on the condition of Inch House will be presented to councillors at the next education, children and families committee in May.

“However, from initial surveys it is clear that the building is in need of considerable work, and obviously the health and safety of our staff and of the public must take priority.

“Everyone is aware of the severe financial challenges currently facing the council so we have to carefully consider where our investment priorities lie, and this will be reflected in the forthcoming report.”

newsen@edinburghnews.com