RUMOURS that a group of artists are being evicted from a Northwich gallery have been quashed by building owners Mid Cheshire College.

The London Road Studios, formerly the Cheshire School of Art & Design, has enjoyed a new lease of life since artists group the London Road Collective (LRC) moved into the building in October.

But recent roof problems have threatened its future and have led to talk that the LRC are being evicted later this week, something Mid Cheshire College (MCC) has assured the Guardian is not the case.

“Unfortunately due to poor weather conditions the roof has been damaged and as a consequence the college has asked the LRC to vacate the building after their exhibition has finished on December 14, to enable work to be carried out,” said a spokesperson for MCC.

“We are not sure how long the work will take as we are just at the investigative stage at the moment but we hope the building will be available for groups that wish to use it in the New Year.”

Carolyn Shepherd, founder of the LRC, feels the building needs to be saved for the community to enjoy.

She said: “I am concerned that if the roof is not attended to then the building will fall into disrepair and this stunning heritage building will be at risk.

“As former students of the art college the team is committed to finding a way of retaining the building for the community as an arts facility, and are dedicated to working with MCC to do whatever that takes.”

To demonstrate their commitment, the LRC have offered to pay for the emergency repairs, but MCC have refused to accept any money, stating “we are the owners and it is our responsibility”.

The long-term aim is for the college to sell the building but the LRC plan to do all they can to protect its heritage until that happens.

“The purpose of the LRC operating in the building is to gather evidence to inform a business plan for a sustainable business at London Road Studios.

“We understand that MCC needs to sell the building in order to focus on their core business, and that another buyer could be found at any time, but this does not deter us from taking care of the building on a day-to-day basis and putting in the hard work involved in producing a solid business plan which will help us to realise the vision.”