JOHNNY Vegas speaks from the heart as he sets out his distress at the news the Citadel arts centre will close later this year (story here).

It was a springboard for his career and over the years has provided a platform for many up-and-coming bands and musicians to hone their talents in front of a supportive audience.

Short of a benefactor coming in and being prepared to pump plenty of money into the Waterloo Street venue for many years to come, its future looks bleak.

It is bad news for St Helens – you can’t really dress it up any other way. If the borough’s leaders are serious about being a town with a thriving arts and culture scene, then there most be a strong, vibrant venue.

We’ve been hearing for a while now about proposals to expand the World of Glass into an arts centre – and this would seem a plausible fit to develop a modern auditorium to house musicians, shows and acts.

But, it seems, this will only work if the council, the World of Glass board and others arts stakeholders can strike an agreement to pull together.

From the Star’s viewpoint, it would seem that too often various organisations in the borough are moving in different directions, which slows progress.

To be taken seriously as a town that celebrates culture – and to rival neighbouring areas and cities – a modern entertainment and arts venue is needed.

Let’s not let this drag on indefinitely and leave the public feeling frustrated and exasperated. Find a solution and give young talent – just like Johnny back in the day – a stage to shine on.


A still of footage showing the scrambler bikes

Star readers are right to voice anger over the gang of scrambler riders who were seen riding through St Helens on Sunday afternoon.

Anyone who has encountered these convoys on the roads will know what an unsettling experience it is.

Their reckless actions – riding on the wrong side of the road, pulling wheelies and speeding – leaves drivers fearful that a road tragedy is just around the corner.

It is idiotic behaviour and we can only hope that the police can begin to get to grips with these riders and put them before the courts.