A MUSIC venue manager has welcomed government plans to cut business rates for “grassroots venues” but warned more needs to be done to support them.

James Mackeown, manager of Concorde 2 in Brighton, said a proposal to halve the cost of business rates for smaller venues was “a step in the right direction”.

But he said the last decade had been difficult for the city’s music industry because of rising costs.

“The recession hit us hard, and the closure of Madeira Terrace meant we effectively operate out of a car park,” Mr Mckeown said.

“Our trade is basically dependent on new emerging artists playing here in order for us to keep going.

“The cost of operating a smaller venue, as well as rent and business rates, is a lot when you’re relying on numbers through the door to generate bar sales.

“It’s the bar and the concession sales that keep us open.”

And Mr Mckeown said making sales is especially difficult for Concorde 2 because of its location in Madeira Drive.

“It’s quite difficult because we’re a destination venue compared to other music venues in the city,” he said.

“And we can’t open the venue as a bar like others can either.

“ Being out of the way on the seafront means we don’t attract people going out in West Street, that’s not our clientele.

“So we rely on attracting exciting bands to draw people in. It’s not just about opening the doors.”

But the venue is “going strong” according to Mr McKeown.

“Last year was our best ever year and we’re hoping this year will be good too,” he said.

“It’s all about groups like the Music Venues Trust lobbying the Government for changes cutting business rates.

“Without their support we would have not be able to survive for 20 years down here out on our own.”

Green Door Store manager Toni Coe-Brooker also welcomed the planned business rates cut.

“The rate relief we would receive as a grassroots music venue would make a significant impact on our ability to continue doing what we do, supporting our local community and incubating new talent,” she said.

“We are relieved and happy to hear this news and to be acknowledged by the Government.”

Music Venue Trust chief executive Mark Davyd said the music industry to needed to “address the crisis” among smaller venues.

“This issue can be tackled, and it needs a broad coalition of key stakeholders to do that,” he said.

“It’s now time for recording and streaming interests to play their part.”